Nov 282012
 

A couple a months ago, we covered a little mod called DayZ for the popular military simulator ArmA II.  The mod is a little buggy so a handful of rival developers jumped together and created War Z.

Wow, looks intense and awesome, right?  Not anymore, according to the player base.

It sounds like the developers of War Z might be taking the “make money and run” tactic soon, as disgruntled moderators who speak up are banned for false reasons and hidden fees start to surface.

One of the more interesting exerts from the post by the former moderator included the following tidbit:

So, since I didn’t sign any sort of NDA for those #$%!faces here are some interesting facts.

WarZ is a direct port over from War Inc. They literally took the game and added NPCs, made a large map, and changed around camera angles and gun settings while adding more functionality and switching over some things. ALL ART however was actually done in-house by their amazing ART team. (Those were the best guys to know, they were in touch more with the community than Kewk)

They randomly ban accounts that have a certain amount of time spent playing in-game, knowing they are hooked on the game so they re-buy the game.

Their anti-hack is actually functional but here’s the kicker..wanna know WHY their bans are TEMPORARY the first time around? 0.8% hacking? Try an EXTREMELY LARGE PORTION of the player base is hacking. If they banned everyone they’d have a mass refund issue on their hands, and no one to play their piss poor of an excuse game.

they plan to HALT DEVELOPMENT AND ABANDON THE GAME in SIX months if revenue is not enough for them (I.E. People are not buying GC and spending the fuck out of it) — take note, if they do not get ENOUGH revenue. They will have enough revenue to pay for the game development for over a year at this point in time already, but if they don’t get enough to give themselves regular raises they will stop making the game and shut down the servers and website.

I always thought it was interesting that more zombie games started showing up recently, but this seems like a pretty brazen attempt to extort a customer base into forking over more money to play what is essentially a rehashed zombie mod.  Granted, more people who play DayZ are finding themselves less worried about zombies and more about other in-game content, with many spin-off DayZ mods appearing, essentially turning DayZ back into ArmA II.

Even upon first glance, War Z’s pricing scheme seems kind of odd.

Hey, at least when you pay more for an MMO, you normally get a tangible collectible to go along with it.

Now that we’ve learned that War Z is basically a reskinned version of War Inc, a free-to-play MMO, the pricing structure similar to a F2P MMO makes more sense.  Heck, this price chart reminds me of Tribes Ascend.  Now that you see what you’re getting for your money, what would you have to fork out today if you wanted to play DayZ?

And that’s not even for DayZ. That’s for two other games, plus you get to play DayZ.

The levels of player reward versus payment of War Z reminds me of the dangerous line that most F2P games are walking, and that’s the finite line between “free to play” and “pay to win.”  The benefit of the in-game currency normally gives less-experienced players a chance to purchase over-powered weapons out of the gate rather than earning them through skill and persistence.  Games like Team Fortress 2 circumvent this issue by issuing new weapons randomly; you either get it or you don’t, and if you see something you want, feel free to go buy it for a dollar from their micro-transaction store.  I’ve inadvertently made purchases (using money or points accumulated through playing) in Team Fortress 2, League of Legends, and the very unfortunate Stronghold Kingdoms, and I can assure you I’m pretty terrible at those games and regret nothing about the experience.

But to throw $15 at a game that might ban me on principle alone, just to get me to buy back in?  That’s not “pay to win” anymore.  That’s just a con.  The best and worst upcoming trend in gaming now are indie developers.  Some are awesome.  Some extort you for money and lose sight of their original vision of making games for a living.  The hard part is that you can’t really know what you’re getting yourself into with a no-name developer.  Steam Green Light is getting some good publicity on user-rated content and games, but ripping people off and empty promises will keep games like Modern Warfare 3 and Halo 4 at the top of the charts, even if it’s the same content year after year.  Why?  Because it’s tried-and-true.  People know they’re getting polished content because they’re forking out $60 for a game that all of their friends have, and the reviews were glowing.

Now, I’m not saying those are bad games.  I’m saying that there are some games out there that definitely deserve better treatment than they’re given. Conversely, there are some that are over-rated, and those developers probably know it, and are trying to cash in on their idea (original, stolen, or otherwise modified from something else).  Say, for instance, taking a F2P MMO and charging an up-front fee with pricing similar to a F2P MMO, then abandoning the game once you have the money.

In unrelated news, Arma III is still in development, and the official DayZ stand-alone client is due out in December.

Mar 072012
 

After the recent announcement about laying off around 600 employees, Blizzard has been in the news recently for all of the wrong reasons.  However, they’re trying to reclaim some of their lost user base by giving away all kinds of goodies to returning clansman who bring a willing victim back with them.

 

Here's a screenshot of the main Warcraft page as of this morning. Click for larger size.

Not only is Blizzard offering a free flying mount to you when you get someone to return to Azeroth, but that person gets a free transfer to your server, a free level 80 character, and a free upgrade to a Cataclysm-enabled account, allowing access to all of the game’s current content.  Oh, and 7 days of free play time.

 

Will players return to Blizzard’s aging MMO once they get a taste of that sweet Kool-Aid again?  Will the spike in the vein help resuscitate the game that converted millions to PC gaming over time?  Or has Star Wars: The Old Republic put the nail in WoW’s coffin?

Nov 182011
 

Suddenly, free-to-play games have just gone to a whole new level.

The hot online action of mechs blowing each other apart took a turn for the awesome with the announcement from Crytek and Piranha Games that MechWarrior Online will use CryENGINE3 to power the blistering battles of robotic mayhem.

From early information, it looks like the F2P model will probably be supported by supplementing your in-game income to purchase newer, more powerful parts to customize your mech to better suit your play style. Well, of course, that’s the entire point of free games. When Valve made Team Fortress 2 free-to-play, their income from the in-game store (The Mann-Conomy) increased five-fold. Could this be a precursor to higher-quality games coming to us for free? I sure hope so.

I’d suggest heading over to their site to register for an account now!

Aug 052011
 

I’ve been needing something to occupy my time until SWTOR comes out. I had been eying Star Trek Online, but I didn’t quite want to shell out the money to try it out. Fortunately for me and the rest of you, Alienware is doing a promotion where if you sign up to be an Alienware member (which is TOTALLY FREE) you can get a special code that gives you:

Access to the retail game of Star Trek Online
60 days of subscription time
The Enterprise Era Bundle
Tribble Pet
8 Hour XP Boost

While writing this there were only about 1000 codes available, so set your engines to full impulse and hurry up! Star Trek Promo

Jun 222009
 

The other day, the PR contact for Moblyn Games was pushing for your beloved JREmen to try out some of their games.  In particular, there were two titles up to bat: Dungeon Quest and M: Mafia.

After reading the e-mail, I was less than motivated to go running towards either title.  Knights and wizards crap bores me to tears, and I’ve never been a mafioso-lover or anything even resembling it.  But, when my battery started running low on my iPhone after playing more Zenonia (I’m determined to see that one through, in all of its awful Engrish glory), I said ‘what the hell’ and pulled these two free games down.

I have to say that, beneath M: Mafia’s plain, text-based exterior, lies an addictive little number that I’ve found myself returning to frequently.

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Jun 102009
 

While Team JRE was hitting E3, we got our thuggish little mitts on all the swag we could carry. And let me tell you folks, it was quite a haul.  We came back with tons of T-shirts, pens, posters, and booth babes (seriously, they just throw them out after the show if you nobody takes them home, so we strapped a few to the hood of the Keyanmobile and brought them back to the office).

While rummaging through our sweet, sweet swag, we found something amongst the loot and the booth babes.  Something small and thin and easy to overlook at first.  What we found was a card. A card with a code. And that code, my dear Thugs, is for the Uncharted 2: Among Thieves multiplayer beta.

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