Sunday, March 23, 2008

Chapter 10: Who left the content out from the content jar?

(Note: This play through was recorded pre-1.2 patch)

I think I'll start things off by showing you guys a pretty picture. It's serene and keeps you at ease; something you'd probably find hanging on a masseuse's wall.

I think the game had a darker atmosphere when it DIDN'T have sky boxes.

Of course, the only problem is that the screen shot comes from a game where you're supposed to find yourself on post-apocalyptic world ravaged by the things of biblical nightmares. And despite the fact that the moon is hiding behind sparsely-dark clouds, the area seems to light up like a Christmas tree. I think this might also be a key moment in time to mention that, at this point in the game, I hadn't died a single time. Not once was I rushing away from battle and using a potion or anything at all. As a matter of fact, if I could I'd probably put out a nice bed out on the street and call it home because disaster is more likely to strike in a station between two children acting like adults.

But enough about trying to make sense out of the atmosphere. Let's move onto some other great game mechanics, eh? So after figuring out that I wasn't going to need two categories of the items I was getting from breaking down non-Hunter stuff, I decided to sell it off (considering trying to sell it on a chat channel would've been tedious and would've yielded little to no results). So I head on over to Wilde (who I'm sure is in no way an attempt to make an attempted pun to a famous Oscar) to sell the garbage. Of course, before I did, I took a close look and found something a little curious.

Math is hard. At least for London survivors it is.

As you can clearly see in this picture, you'll notice how the normal relic shards (the ones on the bottom) equate a multiple value of 5 per shard. So 110 normal shards brings us out to 550 palladium. Now, are you following along? Good. Of course, now logic would dictate that rare shards would yield out a higher selling price. I mean, they are rare, right? Wrong. As we can also see, the rare relic shards also equate a multiple value of 5 per shard as well, so my 75 rare relic shards only bring in 375 palladium.

So I retract my previous statement. I could probably make more money spamming a chat channel and then rising the core price of rare shards by twice their shop value. At least, that would also seem logic at least. So my 75 rare relic shards should actually bring in 750 palladium. My biggest question, however, is how this was even an oversight in development. So basically the protip here is that you're better off selling off rare shards then you are selling them at the shop because you can make more money that way.

Now, while I did complain about how the stations were packed earlier, I had reality hit me like a wet salmon when I stepped into Monument Station one fine day.

This town ain't big enough for the two of us.

Now I can only come to three conclusions concerning this matter. Either the difference from lowbies to highbies is as big as the Bomber Gap, the majority of players are off playing in instances, or the majority of lowbies get a taste of what Hellgate is and quickly drop the game. Of course, considering peak play times would usually yield about 8,000 players at launch and now they only yield about 3,000 players (and dropping), I wonder which one is the likeliest (and I wonder how many of the "lowbies" are just alts).

Either way, I was just glad I had finally finished Act 3. I was hopeful when playing through it. You know, still hopeful and all that garbage and what not. Hoping that maybe this will make a quick turn around. Hoping I'll see something that seems like it wasn't alpha content picked up off the floor and duct-taped to the "finished" product. Hopeful that the finishing of Act 3 would be interesting. Of course, which came to no surprise, all my "hoping" did nothing at all. Let's recap on the recrap, shall we?

You're in the Army now! You're not behind the plough! You'll never get rich, you sonofabitch, you're in the Army now!

Yeah. That was fun. Shoot at some boils, shoot at some orbiles/worms. Rinse, lather, repeat. Times ten. To the power of seven. Honestly, this was one of those parts when you're playing the game and you're trying not to fall asleep--literally. Do I need to even say it any more? Moving on to an even heavier subject; the act 3 boss. I mean, if you can call it a boss.

Like shootin' a giant vagina in a barrel.

Now, I'm told from melee classes (read: Templar) that Oculis is actually a challenge. However, for my Engineer, standing there and shooting at every eye and popping those zits before they could sputter around and do anything, it was more like amateur voyeurism. At one point in time I even stopped shooting to see if the eyes were even supposed to do anything, but all they did was float around, to which my rocket bot made short work of. Talk about a worthless boss. Oh well. Hooray for Act 3, I guess. I know it's the end as well because a magical portal opened up and I met some obscure person/thing talk about some nonsense followed by a cut scene of a book for the third time. Hold on a sec, folks.

*stands up*

*applauds Flagship Studios for a job well done in the effort-making department*

*sits back down*

Now that we have that out of the way, I'd just like to finish up on some other fun stuff I observed in this play session of mine. You know, just some cooky stuff we find in Hellgate that makes a boat load of sense. Let's start, shall we? Exhibit A is a nice screen shot that proves that optics is just a bunch of hooey.

Schizophrenia or piss-poor developer effort? You decide!

Next we have Exhibit B, which teaches us that in Hellgate you can never be too redundant.

Holy crap, you solved the mystery Colombo!

Next we have Exhibit C, which proves to us that obtaining a nanoshard is about as random as a Chinese fire drill.

Don't waste your time breaking down rare, legendary, and unique items in the desperate attempt in thinking you have a better chance at earning a nanoshard, just break down a pair of normal boots and you might be surprised by the results!

And last, but definitely not least, we have my favorite, Exhibit D, where, due to budget cuts in the art department, led to the infamous manufacturing of invisible rifles.

How to obtain the invisible rifle.
Step 1: Zone in.
Step 2: summon a bot/drone.
Step 3: Switch your weapon in the process of the summon.
You now have an invisible rifle.

But enough fun and games. The real highlight of tonight? Why, it has to be my oath to not abandon or shirk a quest of any size or sort, just to get the "real feel" of what any other player would go through. Which brings me to that damn Hunter in Monument Station in which you have to do a slew of quests just so he can get into some other Hunter's quartermaster pants. Despite the fact that the whole line of all side quests I have performed so far are fed exes, I still didn't bite my lip. I didn't even bite my lip when the first four quests I came across I needed to zone over again to spawn the last needed item. I didn't even bite my lip when the last "inconspicuous workstation" was clipping through a tunnel and took me about a half hour of searching to find and only see that I couldn't select it. However, I nearly chewed off my damn lip when I rezoned and found three giant legendary skeletor mobs, two rare skeleton mobs, and two rare bull-thingies that happened to all be camping out right at the entrance to the zone. Needless to say, I was gang banged.

Hey, hey! if you want to pillage my corpse please take a number and wait your turn!

Well that was certainly fun. My first death was attributed to a spawn rape of seven mega mobs. So now things are starting to become much clearer now. Hellgate does not have a middle ground. It's like Marxist theory, really. You've got your bourgeoisie and your proletariat; your insanely hard and insanely easy. Hell, why come to a middle ground when you can just continue on to frustrate your players? Why do anything right when you can continue to do it wrong and make the outlines in stone deeper at how much you can't do anything at all? More so, I would like to know why you remain silent about this issue. Is it because you're afraid of losing subscriptions and having numerous founders rally for a refund? Is this why you're desperately scrounging to other markets and advertising it as, "From the makers of Diablo!"? Because right now it looks like you're just trying to sucker in as many people before they start to take a hint that this game happens to be one of the most horribly buggy, horribly over-played-in-themes, horribly reused ideas that has graced the gaming market in a decade and has made a significant impact in sales on launch. It's like the Great Train Robbery, Ocean's 11, and Entrapment rolled up into one game. So, are they incredibly smart or are they incredibly stupid? Eh, I guess it depends if you're either a consumer or an economist.

You know when I said I wouldn't drop any quests? I lied.

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