08 April 2012

This Just In: Easter Edition

Darn auto-post settings.  Well no, you know how the old saying goes, "Garbage in, garbage out."  Next time check the DATE before you "set it and forget it."  Thankfully I noticed shortly after the post failed to show up, so here you go.  A slightly late version of your Sunday news and links.

A Mass (Effect) Rewrite?

Bioware had announced previously that they were going to respond to fan "feedback" and address the highly controversial ending to Mass Effect 3.  Well this past week details began to emerge in terms of what exactly this would entail.  Bioware emphasizes that this additional content will not change the ending per say, but simply provide "clarity and context" to the ending that was already written for the game.  In the interest of full disclosure, I have not played ME3 as yet, but I did complete the other two games.  But I've been so "spoiled" by this point, that there isn't much left to the imagination in terms of the ending.  I may not have first hand experience, but I've seen and heard pretty much everything there is to see or hear in this case.  I understand the outcry, but I'm not going to "nerd rage" over it.

It does invite an interesting discussion about artistic integrity.  Video games are somewhat unique as an artistic medium in that they are easier to alter than most.  You can't really change a painting, or a book, or a movie (well, unless you're George Lucas) but a game is much more malleable.  With the "wave" of a patch you can change an ending, insert (or delete) a major character, or rewrite the entire plot.  Whether we agreed with it or not, Bioware presented us with the conclusion of their artistic vision for the franchise, and it is their franchise.  Are they not entitled to write the story as they see fit?  If we don't like it, well that's the risk you take in the marketplace.  Again, just ask George Lucas about Han shooting first.  Star Wars is his vision.  Mass Effect is Bioware's.  Just my two cents.

Would the real Star Wars: The Old Republic Please Stand Up

While I left the galaxy far, far away already, I have been keeping tabs on the continuing development of SW:TOR.  At PAX East this past weekend it was announced that the long awaited 1.2 patch will finally be released next week.  In the opinion of this gamer, 1.2 is almost a misnomer.  It really should be considered either 1.0 or 2.0 in a sense.  When you look at the "laundry list" of additions, changes, and modifications in this patch, it says to me that this is the game SW:TOR should have been at launch.  I am not going to revisit my list of gripes with the game in this point, but needless to say if SW:TOR had launched with all this 1.2 content in place, I would likely still be playing it today.

I do still have some game time remaining on my initial subscription, so I may patch it up and see what things are like.  I never wanted to see this game fail, despite how critical I have become of it after the fact.  That is mostly due to personal disappointment.  I had hoped that SW:TOR could be my "home" for many years just as World of Warcraft had been, but alas that was not to be.  Maybe this patch will change that.

Guild Wars 2 Pre-Orders to Begin April 10th

I suppose this news is technically a bit older than a week, but since I had no news post last week, it still fits.  ArenaNet finally announced April 10th as the date that pre-orders for the long awaited Guild Wars 2 will begin.  And it was as if millions of fanbois suddenly cried out in joy.  GW2 has been in development so long that for a while it almost lapsed into the realm of "vaporware."  ANet was already talking about GW2 when I was still playing the original Guild Wars in 2005.  But it looks like this long and winding road is finally nearing its conclusion as they are now ready to start asking for your money.

My thoughts on the game itself remain divided.  I am not among the devoted followers who believe GW2 is the answer to all their MMO prayers.  But it still feels like a solid title and will be a valuable contribution to the overall MMO market.  As I said in my posts last week, it is important to support the games we feel strongly about, and so while I do not agree with the fanbois on GW2's potential, I hope they support it as vigorously after its release as they have prior to it.  More large, successful games will be a good thing for the genre overall.

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