So Riot doesn't want their League of Legends Championship players to stream certain games that Riot considers to be "competitors" to LoL. There's the kernel of the post.
Originally, I thought WTH? These aren't Riot employees. Riot doesn't own these people, and they can do what they want with their spare time.
Then I considered that these players are under contract, probably to Riot directly. It's as much a promotional tool as it is a direct competition. The players are playing for prizes, while Riot is sponsoring for exposure. If these players were to stream a competitor's product while they're off the Riot clock, what does that say to people about the player's opinion of Riot's product compared to their direct competition? I guess it's really no different than having an athlete or actor sign an exclusive contract to pitch a brand, with a clause that they can't pitch any competing brand.
But let's step back a bit. Riot may have the right here, as they offered "fame" and "riches" to these players in exchange for certain limitations, but where could this lead? We're talking video games here, not the NFL. This is LoL not the Super Bowl. Although there's something on the line for Riot, are they "articles and stipulations"-sized somethings?
Beyond this, what's really stopping a company -- just as a totally random example, let's say Activision...totally randomly -- from saying that if you have any archived streams of Electronic Arts games on your Twitch channel, you cannot stream any Activision games?
"Bah!" you say (and then consider adding "Humbug", but stop yourself). That's reaching. Activision doesn't have the power to do that! I'm no legal expert, so I don't know if they could or not, but what would it cost them to slip something like that into the EULA that we all read, re-read, memorize, and wait for with every fresh game install? Again, I don't know how legally binding those electrons are, but let's face it: corporations have tried stupider stunts, and if nothing else, have enough money to bury Joe Livestream beneath a mountain of legal assaults, should they feel it's in their best interest to do so.
The worst part about this is that for every person who thinks restricting certain use is a stupid idea, there are those who adamantly support any and all moves a company makes in it's own pre-emptive defense. For all the bluster and chest-thumping gamers may do on the forums and comment sections about how everyone else is "sheeple", and other cringe-worthy grandstanding phrases, everyone is guilty of giving a pass to their adopted brand, company, or product at some point. Most of the time, it's a "great taste/less filling" type argument on a forum, but we now live in an era where corporations have gotten wise to the fact that statistics are relevant 78.5% of the time, and every company is just one PR weasel apart from interpreting any stat in their favor. Technically, ignoring the haters and quoting the supporters is not incorrect. It's a lie of omission, sure...but it's still legit. Wars have been started with faultier, less self-serving intelligence. *Cough*.
I'm not saying that what Riot is doing to it's owned Champions is any different than what any other spokesperson has had to endure since the dawn of time, but there's a lot of "monkey see, monkey do" going around these days. With the PS4 and XB1 finally getting into the streaming action, streaming as a way of advertising just got a massive boost, and it had already been on the rise as of late. If we as gamers have learned anything about how these companies operate, it's about how rabidly they'll defend their IPs, and how tightly they grip the leash of any employee who speaks about their products to the community. Streaming may only be something we as gamers do for fun, but I think the clock is ticking for companies to realize that the unwashed masses are having their way with their Corporate Message, and that something needs to be done to apply the yoke to bring it back under corporate control.
Fall Steam Sale
I picked up a few items from the Fall Steam Sale this year.
Saint's Row IV was a natural at $20. I had such a great time in Saint's Row The Third that the even more bizarre idea of adding in an alien invasion -- never mind the idea that the Saints were now running the U.S. -- is a no-brainer. I haven't gotten that far, but I am anything but disappointed.
Divinity: Dragon Commander looked really good on paper. You need to take over the realm using a combo of real time strategy and CCG mechanics. The game is beautiful. The voice acting is superb. It's really fucking hard, or else I really suck. I lasted three rounds before I got steamrolled by the AI. I hope I'm just incompetent.
I also got GODUS, because it was 50% off, and I was intrigued. I tried it out, did some terraforming, built some huts. That's about it.
World of Warcraft
Yeah. I held off on this for a while because of the subscription. Many people had been talking about it, and I had subsided on Allods Online in the meanwhile, but a combination of "I have it installed", the promise of the new stuff in the next expansion, and that so many other people were talking about it (with a sheepish shrug that indicated a burning desire to return, but only if their off-handed comments were warmly received). Originally I thought a bunch of folks would roll new characters on the same server, and we'd be re-experiencing the game as a group, but either folks quickly fell away, or everyone went back to their mothballed characters.
I've been cleaning up quests on my highest character (now 67), mostly half-assing it while watching Stargate SG-1 from the beginning. I have no idea what's going on in the game as a result. But I keep pressing on with little consequence. I ask myself "why", but the answer is "meh...why not?".
EverQuest Next (Generation)
My wife sometimes plays MMOs. I got her to try several over the years, and she plays them on and off. Lately, she's been playing EverQuest 2. I haven't really joined her because my characters are all over the place, and she was starting in New Halas, which annoys the hell out of me.
This weekend, however, we had the whole family in the game with new characters: myself, my wife, and our daughter. After some weirdness with starting zone choice (new accounts can't start in Kelethin until they make their first character), we played for a while. It's the first time we got our daughter to actually care about what she was doing. Usually she'll concentrate on character creation, and will then prefer to play "hide and seek" in the game while ignoring...the game. But she was focused on the quests as she learned how the read the UI and manage her abilities.
Last night, she rolled a new character on her own, and after playing for a while in New Halas, she declared "this is my new favorite game."
I watched the recap of the EverQuest Next Landmark on Twitch last night, and came away quite impressed. The presentation was only an hour and answered only a handful of questions, but many of them were questions I had: can we gift Landmark Founder's Packs? Yes. Can we buy a lower tier, and upgrade later? Yes. Can we have guild plots/can friends help build on our plots? Yes. And so on. The majority of the stream showed someone building a large but disjointed fort on top of a hill, but the results were impressive, the tools seemed easy to use, and I'm really looking forward to getting into EQNL.
The question of "to Found or not to Found" is pretty strong. This video, although alpha, got me thinking of what I could possibly build in the game right now. I could see myself taking days off next February when the alpha gates open just to give it a try. However, some things said in this video stopped me from getting out the credit card right then and there.
And just so we're clear, I have no issue buying into a Founder's Program if I believe I'll like the product. I've done it before, and I'll no doubt do it again.
The ambiguous question that kind of hovered over the whole EQN product was this: How does EQNL relate to EverQuest Next? The short answer given last night was, it doesn't. The longer answer was that the two are not connected, except by technology. What we'll have in EQNL is a public, proof-of-concept sandbox which allows Sony to create the "fun" stuff, but which is polished into it's very own game. Some technology and mechanics will get ported over to EQN, while I suspect others will be specific to EQNL. What won't carry between the games is anything you do: you can't take your character from Landmark into Next Proper. Landmark won't be a massive instanced neighborhood for our housing that we can return to before we log out of Next.
That's really kind of weird. Two products that are very, very similar to one another, possibly to the point where you can't really tell the difference just by looking at screenshots or even video. One seems to be aimed at the "soft" playstyle: housing, crafting, light adventuring, and exploration. The other is for the "hard" playstyle: intense adventure, dungeons, raiding, and progression. There'll be some crossover, but as I understand it, for right or for wrong, is that Sony is going to really have to clarify the pros and cons of each, and hammer home the division between the two. Otherwise, there'll certainly be a lot of people who jump into Landmark, spend a lot of time and effort to build and progress, and then find that most of the fruits of their labors doesn't translate over to EQN Proper.
I really want to have EQNL, like, yesterday, so I'm looking at the Founder's Program. However, what happens when EQN Proper arrives? There's only so many hours in the day, and if there's no crossover, which one will get my attention? Is it worthwhile to spend time in EQNL, getting everything set up, and then having to switch gears to EQN and let EQNL sit on the sidelines? I'm not going to be purposefully using EQNL to make things to sell on the Marketplace, but I really appreciate the focus on exploration, crafting, and building. But if the majority of people will be leaning more towards Next Proper, I don't want to get tired of the entire atmosphere by the time Next Proper arrives. But I really want to build stuff!
The recent release of "Founder's Packs" for EverQuest Landmark seems tailor-made for controversy. Here we have a precursor to the actual name-brand game, not the game itself (although it will have many game play elements), which will be free to play when it eventually launches sometime next year. The Founders Packs are priced at $20USD, $60USD, and $100USD. For $20, you get into the Beta. For $60 and $100, you get into the Alpha. Each pack comes with additional perks like titles, buffs, and cosmetics.
The idea of "pay for access to alpha/beta" is understandably questionable, although the "why" isn't above suspicion. For the longest time now, a "beta" for a game has been more about "early access" and less about "finding bugs". Personally, I think a lot of companies are leaving money on the table by not charging some nominal fee -- with perks -- to get in ahead of everyone, but I do believe they should term it something other than "beta". In fact, this is also not a new development. Firefall did it. MechWarrior Online did it. Neverwinter did it. There's undoubtedly many others who have offered these "Founders Packs" before the actual launch date, and there are legions of people who have jumped on that bandwagon, myself included.
You know it's becoming endemic when Steam, the leading digital distributor of PC games, allows, and then explodes with, "Early Access" options. Developers who get their product onto the platform can ask for money in exchange for an early, undoubtedly broken product from people who are so excited about the concept, the art direction, the implementation, or the names behind it that they're willing to spend money on this unfinished item, sight unseen. That there seem to be so many Early Access products on Steam tells me that it's a pretty lucrative tactic, especially if it takes the place of/augments the Kickstarter route (which deserves special mention in this context in it's own right).
So when I read something written by a "journalist" that lambasts Sony for offering Founder's Packs for EverQuest Landmark without even the slightest hint that he has a clue about these prevailing winds, I have two suspicions. The first is that the author really is clueless. That's sad, because it doesn't take a grad-school-level research attempt to open Steam and find Early Access items (they practically throw them at you), or to do a cursory review of the MMOs that launched or were made available to a subset of the public this year alone to see that yes, people are charging for early access, and yes, people are buying into it.
The second suspicion is far more sinister, because it centers around a manufactured outrage for page views. This is the cynical yet prevailing view of "video game journalism" among people I pal around with, that headlines are link-bait, that people start reading (if they bother to read at all) with a mind made up courtesy of the article's title, and that their indignation will compel them to share the anger with their social networks as a "call to arms", or at least a "call to mouth off in the comments". The author will receive a pat on the back from his editor for driving traffic to the site, and the author...I have no idea what the author gets out of it. The article could have been written in cuneiform, so long as the emotional purpose has been served in the name of business. In fact, it seems that the emotional purpose was the ONLY one being served. Otherwise, the author simply has an axe to grind with Sony, EverQuest, or the business model that is clearly trending towards greater acceptance here in the West.
I'm buoyed by the response in the comments section, which is something I never thought I'd say, because as far as I read (the first page), most folks are asking "what's the fuss?" People seem to understand that this is an OPTIONAL PROGRAM for die-hard fans, that it's not as unusual or clutch-the-pearls unseemly as the author makes it out to be, and the majority of the commentators seem to recognize that when such tactics are sanctified by the august Steam, it's a tactic that's here to stay.
On one hand, I groan at these shallow attempts to draw in viewers by appealing to outrage, and then which follow-up by saying absolutely nothing. On the other hand, I had to smile to myself when I realized that the indignation that the author was attempting to foment was blowing up in his face as people didn't seem to have much of a problem with Sony's behavior (aside from obligatory "NGE Whiners Committee" members who follow news on Sony like hippies followed the Grateful Dead). As much as I'd like to envision the author's downcast eyes as the commentators take the wind out of his sails, the cynic in me knows that it was just the opposite the moment I clicked the link through to his article.
I'll start by saying "yeah...it's really my own fault...to a point" so we can all be on the same page and to set the tone.
So I jumped into The Secret World this evening to check out the new Issue #8 content which includes the new "scenario" feature. This is presented as a simulation in the flooded basement of the Council of Venice, the non-neutral neutral fourth faction in the lore. These holographic chambers let you pick from a few locations, and a few difficulties, but right now the mission is the same: rescue 15 survivors of some kind of supernatural catastrophe, kill all the evil things, and stay alive. The presentation is pretty slick, complete with holodeck-style fading walls and training simulator voice overs and the like.
But I went in as "solo", which I figured would be OK. No doubt not the most lucrative option, but just to give it a shot, I could run a scenario and see what's what.
Yeah, no. See, this content, like content in many expansion packs for different games, is really only for players who have consumed all of the previous content. It's the carrot on the stick, an attempt to get people to not leave for other games where all content is new content.
See, I get that. Pointing it out wins you no points, so please continue reading.
Problem is, I'm not one of those "consume all content" players. In TSW, highest character only just got to Egypt (the second major zone in the game), and he's pretty gimped in the skill points department, making him my most advanced, but worst case character. I've still got a lot of content ahead of that character, and even more content ahead of the lowbies I still have kicking around Solomon Island.
My most advanced character was slaughtered in the scenario. So while it was "solo" on the "normal" setting, that meant max QL gear, maxed SP, and advanced AP role...basically, end game content. At least, that's how I see it. Plus, the new "augmentation" system requires 30 SP to unlock just one bubble out of the four possibly disciplines. My character has...3 SP currently, I think? And there are more important things I need to spend it on.
But marketing isn't finely targeted. When news of an expansion hits the streets, everyone knows about it. Everyone gets excited. Everyone wants to see the new stuff. But for those of us who are slower, or who don't play as much, or who don't have or can't find a team, this content is useless. It's sitting out there, taunting us. Or just me.
What's worse is that it keeps those who have progressed from circling back. This is a hit or miss complaint, really, because not everyone can stomach re-doing stuff in a game. TSW is particularly bad because there's only one way through all of the content, and if you've done it once, you've done it as many times as you should (or can, thanks to investigation missions losing their luster the second, third, or fourth time around). When expansions are released, anyone who might be considering re-rolling as an alternative to repetitive end-game content is suddenly spoken for, and the desire to maybe roll anew and join with lower players goes out the window.
So yeah, I'm mainly venting because TSW's philosophy seems to be "full speed ahead", in a straight line, with no looking back. The game in linear (but fun!), and expansions only serve to extend the tracks, not do anything for the landscape left in the dust. I'll keep working on my characters, but I wouldn't be surprised if the game was dropping Issue #30 by the time I'm ready to start Issue #1
My friends on G+ have been inundated with excited posts by me late last night as I quickly received payoff for a minimal amount of work, so I apologize to those of you who are reading this for the bazillionth time.
In the same day in which I lamented the lack of multi-input to Twitch from remote locations, I did some digging and found that yes, it is entirely possible to have broadcasters from remote locations stream to one Twitch channel. However, there's a massive asterisk there. Twitch itself doesn't allow re-broadcasting, so it's basically one stream in from your broadcaster, one stream out through their player. You can fake it if you set up multiple viewers through Twitchify or Multitwitch, and isolate each player in its own layer through OBS, XSplit, FFSplit, or other broadcast software, but you're probably going to suffer from re-broadcasting a broadcast.
If you want to truly aggregate streams, you need an RTMP server. Here's a handy diagram!
Steve, Kelly, and Mittens are all playing MechWarriror Online with other members of their clan, and want to create a slick recruitment video. Using their broadcaster-of-choice, they all stream to a custom RTMP server using the url rtmp://server.address.com/[personal-channel]/[personal-key] instead of the predefined setup that allows them to stream directly to Twitch.
The RTMP server handles the input and makes it available to the public at the same address each broadcaster uses for input.
Another clan member -- The Producer -- isn't playing. Instead, he's got two apps running: a web browser which has multiple video viewers that display the RTMP streams on one page, à la Twichify, and a copy of XSplit. Unlike the broadcasters, The Producer needs to use XSplit because it's the only broadcaster that can use RTMP streams as input (get on that, OBS and FFSplit!). Each RTMP stream behaves just like any other input within XSplit, allowing the producer to move and resize windows, aggregate them onto one canvas, or give them their own full-screen canvas. Each input displays what the individual streamers are streaming, so if Mittens has a webcam overlay on her game input, it's what The Producer will see, and will have no control over moving multiple input sources from the broadcaster.
Finally, The Producer uses the normal Broadcast to Twitch settings to pump the aggregated stream to the public.
This allows for streamers to get groups of people together into one broadcast, something that Twitch doesn't support. With a producer at the helm, a group of people can make some pretty slick, near professional quality video without the need for post-processing. If one stream were a webcam focusing on some commentators who are watching the RTMP streams themselves, you could set up a League of Legends style eSports presentation. Also, by having one aggregate display, and then each stream on their own canvases, a group can create a pretty decent show, live and without post-processing.
Also, if you have an embeded video player which can accept RTMP streams, you could put your own video player on your own website using Flowplayer or JWPlayer, and skip the Twitch ads! It's entirely possible to have broadcasters input to the RTMP server, have a producer aggregate those streams, and then re-post to the RTMP server. If your embded video player picks up on any of those streams, it can be posted to your own website.
First, you need the RTMP server. I did some leg-work, and found two commercial servers, and one free server. You need hosting, virtual or otherwise, or a box in your own home.
Obviously, to make this work, you need someone to act as the producer who will aggregate all the streams and send it out to the public. Sadly, it can't be one of the streamers, unless someone wants to run two broadcasters: one to send out, and one to aggregate and publish. While possible, that person would need a pretty hefty PC and a lot of bandwidth.
Also, you have to use a broadcaster. Games which pump out the streams directly to Twitch won't work, which also excludes the next generation of consoles (unless the broadcast destinations can be re-routed somehow).
I set up a virtual Ubuntu server on Microsoft's Azure cloud computing system and followed a set of instructions I found on the OBS forums for setting up the free and lightweight nginx web server with an RTMP plugin. I'm not a Linux guy, so I had to kick my way through the installation, but once I understood what I was doing wrong, everything went off without a hitch (which never happens for me when dealing with Linux!).
I haven't done a lot of deep testing, but I set up two distinct end-points on the same port, and was able to connect to both of them for both input and output, and the server didn't even break a sweat. I believe that there needs to be distinct endpoints (rtmp://server.address.com/channel1, /channel2, /channel3) for each stream you want to accept. Finally, when setting up Twitch or other stream you need to provide an API key, but when connecting to nginx, the API key can be whatever the broadcaster wants it to be. It's totally arbitrary in this case, but the producer will need to know what the broadcaster chose in order to pick up the stream from the RTMP server. An an example, I set up a channel called Scopique, so the RTMP URL would be rtmp://server.address.com/Scopique, and the API key I set up was whatever. Some output locations need a full URL (rtmp://server.address.com/Scopique/whatever) and some need just the channel (up to Scopique) with the API key in its own box.
One of the benefits from this is that you can use this set up to also record streams to disk (on the server) or even to send the stream direct to Twitch from the RTMP server. This is basically replicating the functionality that the broadcast software offers out of the box, but it's possible that there might be a situation out there that doesn't offer a direct pipe to a broadcasting outlet, and putting an RTMP server in between might solve that issue.
I'm not a prodigious streamer. I rarely stick with anything for long enough to warrant a decent "Let's Play" series, I don't concern myself with [air-quotes]details[/air-quotes] to pass on the knowledge to other people, and quite honestly I don't think that watching me play a game simply for the sake of watching me play a game is something I want anyone to subject themselves to. Most of the streaming I'll do is centered around a new game, or a "new to you" game during which I'll just start talking about what's going on, why I'm clicking something and not something else, what the UI means...kind of a "Let's Learn" video.
But there's a lot of people who DO stream a lot, and who are really good at making their presentation and schedules on-par with what you'd get from people who are actually paid to do such things. There's also a lot of people who play together, or who have opportunities to play together. It would be really nice, then, to aggregate concurrent streams under one channel, but so far I've only seen one service do this (Livestream, which opted for paid, "professional" use over everyone else), or have found that it's next to impossible to do from home unless A) you're rich, or B) have a spare machine, Linux chops, and a fat bandwidth pipe to run your own RTMP server.
This may be a very narrow case, but it's be cool to have multiple points of view during a dungeon run or raid, or to have multiple cameras showing action in different areas from different players who are playing from their own home, all aggregated and arranged on the video canvas by a master editor. Unfortunately, Twitch doesn't allow RTMP output from their service. If they did, then broadcasters like XSplit could use the RTMP URL as an input, which would allow one streamer to collect the inputs, arrange the video on the canvas, and then kick the stream back to Twitch. The best we have now are aggregation re-broadcasters like Twitchify or Multitwitch which don't mix the signals, but allow you to view multiple streams at once.
Belghast The Aggronaut posted his top 5 IPs that he would like to see made into MMOs. I like his choices, because they run from the painfully obvious (Mass Effect) to the "I'm showing my age" (RIFTS), but while every MMO player has his or her top 5 personal wishes for new MMOs, the chances of these titles actually making the jump to massively multiplayer is usually slim, it seems.
I would guess that it's "market research", or some half-assed semblance of the sort. I heard somewhere that the reason why there are so many high fantasy games is because they are "what people want", which is like saying that there's a lot of oxygen because it's "what people breathe". Do we have a choice, if most of the AAA options are high fantasy? Technically, yes, if we look through the AA or A or niche bins, but for sake of argument let's stick with the Big Bucks Development because reality is the more money a company has to develop and market, the more people sit up and take notice.
The games industry doesn't have to do research. Apple doesn't. I suspect Google doesn't. Judging by Windows 8, I don't think Microsoft does either (zing!). But that just means that projects are driven by "gut feeling", which could be augmented by even the most casual glance at what's out there already. Sales are one thing. We know Call of Duty will sell a hojillion dollars worth no matter what, but look at Minecraft. It came out of nowhere, got stupidly successful, and spawned a million pretenders. Same thing with DOTA/MOBA, or 3/4 perspective ARPGs. A genre doesn't need to sell a lot, but if the premise appeals to it's target audience, chances are probably good that we'll see more titles following in footsteps.
I'm buoyed by the long-tail trend of cyberpunk. After a fitful absence, we got a new, well regarded Deus Ex. We also got a new Shadowrun single player game. There's also the official Cyberpunk game in development, and a spiritual successor to the original Syndicate in the form of Satellite Reign. There were some missteps along the way (Syndicate, The Shooter Edition), but even a trickle means that there's a group of people out there who are buying enough of these titles to warrant other developers to try and get a piece of the pie. It's not scientific, or even financially verifiable, but hell...point and click adventure games have made a kind of a comeback, so someone is buying these things, right?
Of course, a few titles that sell well below CoD numbers, which don't have a big and recognizable IP, and which only appear every few years isn't going to make AAA MMO bean-counters get all excited about throwing money around, but such is the way of business in the games industry. High fantasy is a "safe bet", like a safety blanket, so we'll get a lot of technological changes wrapped in familiar paper (EverQuest Next). That leaves the innovations in setting to the niche titles who want to have games set in these specialized genres, and who have the talent (if not the money) to have a go at it. The end result may be something that will scratch the itch, but there'll be a whole bucket of things that will probably get left out because the developer just didn't have the resources that AAA developers can muster.
I had stopped playing Borderlands 2 because I was sick of it. It was all shooty and explody and funny, yes, but what else was there, really? A different backdrop, but just more guns, more gore, more Buttstallion...
But Gearbox did something kind of cool. They started a contest. In all honesty, I couldn't care any less about the contest portion but I do want to give props for the execution (hehe...execution).
Each day, every Vault Hunter has two goals: kill a named character, and take out an absurd amount of a specific type of creature (no one will ever be able to say Borderlands 2 aimed low). The goal of the named kill is individual (you can do it as a member of someone else's group), but the absurd amount is a community effort, so do your part and splash those critters! For each named kill, you get a special weapon or item that you can use to kill those group critters, and if the community makes their blood-quota, everyone can get an extra special item from the last-day's named kill. It's been pretty amazing that the community has been killing as much as they have, because some of these numbers are almost comically high.
And I guess for every named that you kill, you get entered to win $100,000 or some crap like that.
We're on week two now, and although I haven't jumped in every day, when I do, it's to do my part for the Loot Hunt. I'm very goal oriented. I need to have either a pre-defined goal, or a goal I set for myself. Having these "flash goals" of one per day is pretty damn cool. From the geekier perspective, that Gearbox can set up these goals on the fly from their side is actually even cooler. I know a lot of shooters do extra XP weekends and stuff, but having an actual content goal and on-the-fly rewards is much cooler.
I really would like to see A) more games take advantage of their desire to have this "always connected" technology in place because honestly this is a really good example of how it can benefit the customer, and B) would like to see Gearbox do more of this, because they can, and because it gives me a renewed interest in the game.
Last Saturday we had our semi-annual LAN party. Not only are they as fun as they ever were, but it forced me to clean the ignored portion of my basement.
We're not a horribly diverse group. Borderlands 2 was played the most, as some folks are far more focused/single-minded than others and have been working on BL2 for quite some time. I am not one of those people, however, so my character was horribly under-leveled. I just went along for the ride, and the XP, and the loot drops which I could sell and earn insane amounts of money. I also spent some time just cleaning out my backlog of missions, which I am now over-leveled for. So the good news is that I'm plowing through those, but the bad news is that I can't use them effectively to level.
Some of us then moved on to MechWarrior Online. I love this game, but I also hate this game because it causes me much stress. Left to my own devices, I suck at it. It's very much like an action-y EVE Online, where it's not how you play, but what you know that makes the difference. Memorizing the stats of each mech and each weapon and doing the math of the most effective weapon configuration for which mech is the only way to really survive for any length of time. Whenever I try and consider the game in this way, my mind clouds over; I just can't get my head around it. So I usually just stick with the crowd, because the fall-back strategy is to not go lone wolf! And to take time. It's not Call of Duty. It's a very tactical game, but I get so stressed out about being blown up that I usually forget that. It was a double XP weekend, and we played several matches, so I ended up with about 7 million C-Bills at the end of the day.
In a fit of random decision making, we left MWO (and the folks still playing BL2) and tried Warframe. I had given this a shot a while back, but only played the solo mode, which was a slightly better choice than slamming my head repeatedly with a door. If you play solo and die, you can only continue 4 times per day unless you pay. The benefit to playing online (4 player co-op) is that when someone dies, you can get them back on their feet with no penalty. We had three of us and one random Internetizen blowing through the first few missions in Mercury. The game has a really creepy IP, again, somewhat evocative of EVE Online with it's post-humanism vibe. It's a good co-op game, but we were stumbling blind through it; we didn't have any idea how to build up our characters, and I have yet to find a decent resource that illuminates those shortcomings.