Tuesday, June 7, 2011

E3 Impressions

In the run-up to E3, Zubon looked at the slate and saw sequels, tie-ins, and remakes as far as the eye could see.  I didn't put that much advance effort into analyzing E3, but I did leave a few quips in Keen's liveblog of the Sony press conference.  I don't follow console news nearly as closely as I follow MMO's, so it's a pretty sad state of affairs when I mostly already knew about all the stuff that I was at all interested in.  A few random linkspams:

  • Sony's new phone/portable system seems ill-advised.  You can't sell games for a system that people don't own, which makes the system not worth owning because people don't make games for it.  If I were in a position to offer one piece of advice to someone trying to launch a gaming phone, it would have been not to make it an exclusive for AT&T.  Even the crowd of spoon-fed journalists did NOT react well to this announcement from Sony, and for good reason - the saga of how much iPhone users (and would be users) hated AT&T went beyond technology enthusiasts to the mainstream.  I'm sure not running out to pay $300 plus a data plan on a carrier I don't want, so I guess I'm just not going to be paying to play any of the game's they're making for the thing. 

    Note: Two commenters point out that the PS Phone (which was mentioned during the conference) is actually a separate device from the "Vita", which is available in wifi or 3G data versions (the latter shackled to AT&T).

  • Speaking of PS Phone games, they showcased a Diablo-looking "MMO" called Ruin in which one of the hyped features was that players would build their own "lair", and other players could attack your keep and you'd be "rewarded" for responding fast enough.  What happens if you don't answer the phone alert was not specified.  Where do I go to NOT sign up for the game where I lose my keep because I had my phone off while I was at work? 

  • Sony also unexpectedly brought CCP onto the big stage to announce that Dust 514 - the EVE-spinoff FPS - was bound exclusively for the PS3.  This game and the original EVE are in the same universe, and CCP has been saying since the concept was announced that battles in one game will affect the other. I have no idea how that will work (especially if there's a monthly fee attached to the PS3 game - will anyone stick around beyond the first month?), but CCP has been making stuff that wouldn't work for anyone else work for them for years now.  Also, I wonder how many people will "two-box" the FPS on the PS3 while their Eve ship does its mining-botting on the PC. 

  • The thing that I was most excited about was the Star Trek game trailer - mostly because I'd forgotten that there was another Star Trek movie coming out.  On the plus side, I'm sure 'shippers somewhere can do something suitably inappropriate with a Kirk/Spock coop shooter that includes Playstation Move (that's their version of the Wiimote, which will come in a phaser-shaped model for this game) support. 

  • Finally, in a bit of actual PC MMO news, Turbine has announced pre-order pricing and a September 27th release date for the Isengard expansion.  Doc Holiday has the important info - $30 for the expansion (three new zones and a higher level cap, though it's not clear how that will interact with free players), and additional packages that add $10 or $20 to the price tag in exchange for Turbine points, quest packs (if you don't already own them) and Rohirrim mounts/cosmetic outfits. 

    Personally, I already own the quest packs (from the old expansions) that might otherwise make the $50 a good deal for non-subscribers, and I don't care much about cosmetic mounts, so I'm inclined to wait and see.  In fairness, that's almost always my reaction. 

    (Note that these prices are in real world dollars, and may not be equivalent to post-launch pricing.  Turbine has not set a final Turbine Point cost for the expansion when it hits the in-game store, where it may be priced differently to account for TP sales.) 

It'll be interesting to see if anything more original emerges from the remainder of the show, but so far I'm relatively underwhelmed.


Carson 63000 said...

With regards to LOTRO's Isengard expansion, if you're a free-to-play (i.e. not subscribing or lifer VIP) player, there's not much reason not to go for the $40 "Heroic" version. 1000 TPs for $10 is cheaper than you can normally buy them, isn't it? And they throw in a free cosmetic armour. :-)

Green Armadillo said...

It depends. It is relatively difficult to get a penny per TP on a $10 purchase, but you can go significantly better than that on a larger bundle (e.g. the relatively common 6900/$50 promo).

Purely hypothetical example: imagine the "base edition" costs 4000 TP in the store to account for sales, in-game TP's etc. With the "Heroic" preorder, you're paying $10 extra for 1000 TP, an outfit, and the right to pick the color of your mount. If you use the 6900 TP deal to buy the base edition in the store, you're paying $20 extra for 2900 TP's left over.

There's also a question of what you're buying with TP as a Premium player. If you're paying for mounts and outfits, then yes, pre-order the fancy packages ASAP, LOTRO cosmetics are expensive and generally per-character, not account-wide. If you're buying access to leveling content, the $50 bundle may be a good deal - I'm pretty sure you can get from level 1 to the new cap with the included quest packs plus some skirmishing.

Other than that, there are relatively few unlocks that you need and are not much more economical to obtain via subscribing for a month (which grandfathers you in for trait slots, bags, goldcap, possibly mount access, and I've forgotten what else, plus you get to rent the remaining content and 500 TP).

Talarian said...

You seem to be mildly confused over the PS Vita vs. the PlayStation Phone.

They're actually 2 different machines. PSPhone is:


which is actually a phone that plays Sony Marketplace games.

The PS Vita, further clarified at E3, is a portable gaming device with an optional 3G wireless connection that you can get a data plan for, but no phone component (you can't make calls).

They didn't talk about the PlayStation phone at all during E3, though I don't disagree with the AT&T data plan assessment. But you also don't *need* a data plan. If you get the $250 Vita, it's Wifi only. The extra $50 makes it 3G data capable on top of Wifi.

Dick said...

What E3 were you watching?

PS Vita is not a phone, it's a handheld gaming device with the option for 3G. But the wi-fi works just fine, and what most will get. It will do better because it's not a phone, but a dedicated gaming device with dedicated gaming controls, unlike touchscreen phones, which are horrible with gaming controls.

Dust 514 will fail horribly on the PS3, not because of any fees, which there are none, because it's not an MMO, but because EVE's fanbase is on the PC and online FPS games are best on the PC. Sony lost a lot of customer faith with their hacks. CCP is just making a money grab, but Dust 514 will be on the PC after it fails on the PS3. Maybe even free-to-play to get people into the EVE universe.

Don't really care about LotRO or a movie game of Star Trek.

Yeebo said...

The cinematic trailer for SWTOR impressed me, though it's hard to say much from it since it contains 0 gameplay. I read an interview from the lead of Deus Ex III that also impressed, but without playing through the ten hour demo they gave to the press it's hard to say whether my positive impression is justified.

Green Armadillo said...

Thanks for the correction on the phone, guys. Shows how little attention that I've been paying to the portable console business that I didn't realize the two were separate.

@Yeebo: I would pay good money for SWTOR the interactive movie. Unfortunately, there's a game attached to this high quality marketing video shop, and I haven't liked its off-line predecessors enough to be excited about it.

Stabs said...

I'm very interested in DUST 514 because I'm very fond of Eve.

It's a shrewd move by Sony as I imagine there are a few dyed in the wool PC gamers thinking of picking up consoles when DUST comes out. As I don't own a console if I do decide to get one it will definitely be a PS.

Two boxing is certainly a possibility but as I understand it there won't be much you can do from space to influence a fight. There was some talk of orbital bombardment but I think it was just a pipe dream. I can't see it working that Eve players can shoot at DUST players but DUST players can't shoot back. And because moving is slow in Eve and nullsec empires tend to be large the console players could just load a different map if they found a space armada defending.

Carson 63000 said...

@Green: as a premium player, I'd actually jump on the $50 deal like a shot if I didn't already own most of those quest packs. Although I'm a little confused about the whole "Moria/Mirkwood quest packs vs. Moria/Mirkwood expansions".

Green Armadillo said...

@Stabs: Who says they won't implement anti-starship planet-side artillery?

@Carson: Same basic situation here, I already own the Moria and Mirkwood expansions. The "quest packs" are just the quest content. In Moria's case, the expansion includes the Warden, the Rune-Keeper, and two additional character slots. I honestly don't remember what distinguishes Mirkwood from its quest pack now that the level cap and epic content is free.