September 17, 2010 at 5:38 pm | Posted in General | Leave a comment
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Wotcha everyone,

Not the best “When Acronyms Attack” moment, really.  I never played APB, and never particularly had the intention of playing.  But that doesn’t mean I cannot mourn its passing.

The wonder of the internet is that it is many things, to many people.  Speaking for myself, most of the time the internet is a really cool, huyuuuuge playground.

And in this playground are all sorts of crazy slides, and swings, and roundabouts.  Yes, the sort of slides that defy gravity, go on for miles, and only exist in “wouldn’t it be cool if” moments.  Ones that look like waterslides on steroids and bad acid.

They’re fantastic to play on, but it’s all too easy to forget that those slides, swings and roundabouts aren’t permanent fixtures: we don’t own them, we only ever rent them for a while.

At the same time, the owners of aforementioned metaphorical playground goodies have to ensure that they provide fantastic toys for us to play on.  And each new slide has to be even more exciting, or longer, or even just brighter coloured than the last one (whilst still remaining a slide, and having people complain that it’s still just a slide).

It seems that APBs slides weren’t as exciting enough for it to keep paying the ground rent, and at this point I’m going to put away the (mixed) metaphors because if I don’t, pretty soon this ramble will end up as twisted as th ereally cool slides are in my head.

So, dead game.

It’s really, really disappointing, and for a number of reasons:

  • There’s a number of people who have lost their jobs, and this isn’t the best of times to lose a job (if there ever is one).
  • There’s a good few more people who will be unable to log in and play, relax from their busy stressful lives, and just de-stress.
  • Every time a game that’s trying to do something new fails, every game in development that is trying to do something different takes a knock.
  • And related to the previous point, the only *good* clones are the ones wearing Stormtrooper armour.

All in all, a big fat shame.  APB, we might not have been mates, but I’ll miss you anyway.



Dastardly plan, anyone?

September 7, 2010 at 8:03 pm | Posted in General | Leave a comment
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Wotcha everyone,

I love the idea of Superman.  Stick with me on this, Batfans, it will make sense.

Of a sort.

I love the *idea* of Superman.  I’m not a huge fan of the films or the stories, because there’s only so much that can affect the man of steel, and it’s usually green and glowy, and sort of kills him dead.  When your biggest worry is having to come up with a second ace disguise because the Clark Kent one is busted, your story options are sort of limited.

But that idea, that concept.  I love it.  Not just one superpower, but several.  And with more power than some superhero teams.

And he’s a good guy.

That’s why I love the idea of that character.  For me, the real story isn’t his power, but what he chooses to do with it.  The fact that he chooses to help, rather than hinder.

Lesser mortals are much more interesting to write about, and therefore read about.  That’s why I love the idea of Superman, but it’s the Batchap that gets me buying comics, or heading off to the cinema.  Batchap gets better stories.  Fact of life.

My favourite tale of the Bat is The Killing Joke.  Dark Knight Returns might well have rescued the Bat from kid’s comic obscurity, but it’s The Killing Joke that throws a harsh light on the relationship between Batman and The Joker, and shows that there’s actually very little difference between the two.

Again, it’s that choice.  Good, or evil.  Costumed do-gooder, or super-villain.

And here we have DC Universe Online, offering me that choice.  According to the strap line, the next legend is me.  (Yay me!)

Of course, legend can be heroic or villainous, which I think is the whole point of avoiding the “hero” word.

Now, theres not much on the internet about this MMO that a five minute search engine of your choice can provide.  There’s the official website, which has some really rather good marketing hyperbole on it, but seems to be lacking in a “here’s the skinny” link.

Remember, you don’t come here for in-depth research; other people handle that far better than slacker me.  So if I can’t find it in that first five minutes, I probably won’t.  But I do look forward to finding out that the choice between good and evil is more (much more) than simply clicking one button or another during character creation.  City of Heroes/Villains didn’t allow much more choice, and while it was fun ordering my evil minions into combat whilst playing a villain, it was ultimately a rather soulless exercise for me:

City of Villains characters seemed more like glorified freelance henchmen than actual, this-is-my-plan-for-conquering/destroying-the-world-dyed-in-the-wool-super-villains.

Too many hyphens there.  Sorry.

But I hope the point is clear.  Superheroes fight crime.  At whatever power level, it’s more than possible to be your own boss when fighting crime.  You’re *always* a policeman in a funny spandex suit, regardless of whether it has that big stylised “S” on the front, or not.  Because you’re a self-employed policeman.

But super villains?  They’re the ones with the plans. The ones with the secret volcano bases.  The ones who order minions about, rather than taking orders themselves.

Now I know that it’s easy to sit on a blog and bleat about wanting free will within an MMO.  I’m more than aware that technology really is not capable of letting players have that level of sandbox play.

But it would be rather splendid if we were able to decide if we wanted to be heroes or villains as we played within the world, wouldn’t it?  And if we were feeling villainous, to be able to concoct and then enact our own dastardly plans?


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