Thoughts for Motiga
One of the aspects of Pax South 2016 that felt strange for me, was the complete and total lack of Motiga and Gigantic. I cannot fully express how much of my experience this game was in 2015. I had a great time hanging out with the Motiga crew thanks to Lonrem brokering a connection, and then kept dragging people to the booth to play Gigantic. It felt like the sort of MOBA experience I had been looking for. When I played a tanky character, it felt like playing an MMO tank. When I played a ranged character, it felt like playing a really good ranged shooter. I feel like hands down they were the belle of the ball last year, and when I heard about their layoffs in december, and the fact that they were not on the roster for 2016… I started to get concerned. Since coming back from Pax last year I have been lucky enough to have access to all of the alpha and beta events, but I have to admit I didn’t really play much of it. For the longest time it just played lousy on my then Geforce 750ti video card…. and now that I have at least upgraded to a 960 I am wondering if maybe it would perform a little better. As of yesterday however I am really starting to worry for the folks at the company, because according to a Gamasutra article the just underwent some pretty significant staff reduction in a last ditch attempt to get more funding to finish the game.
Now that the NDA has lifted I don’t have to worry quite so much about how I talk about Gigantic. I really need to reinstall the game and see what its current state happens to be. The biggest problem that the game had was that its back end systems were not quite as polished as the front end game play. Matchmaking was a big issue, and the fact that in order to get valuable feeling matches… you realistically needed to hang out on testing ventrilo and and form some sort of a custom game. The last time I attempted to boot up the game I sat in a matchmaking queue for thirty minutes and then finally gave up. My friend Rae apparently has played it more recently, but ran into a pretty elitist player base… with her catching shit for not doing the right thing at the right time. This is one of those games that is so damned close to really good…. but I worry that maybe they missed their window by a year. I’ve always said that in order for this game to be really popular it needed to be first to market, since it is essentially launching an untested IP. The awesome thing is though, that the characters…. well… for lack of a better term have character. They are interesting and are animated in a way that they spring to life. This game has what League of Legends has… but so many other games in the MOBA genre have lacked… personality. I really hope that they can pull this off, but as always I worry about the folks that were just let go. This game deserves its time in the sun, and I think it will flourish on consoles…. quite possibly more so than on the PC that already has a fairly entrenched first person MOBA genre. The critical date however is that they HAVE to beat Overwatch to launch, or they are pretty much toast. Even thought those two games are vastly different in feel… players are still mentally lumping them all together in this “fps evolved” genre of folks taking the FPS template and doing new things with it.
Overwatch Beta Returns
Speaking of the 500 lb gorilla that Gigantic has to beat to market… as of yesterday the Overwatch Beta is back on, and with it has also returned much gnashing of teeth as more folks failed to get in. At this point I am pretty much resigned that I will not likely get to play until open beta testing at some point. For a brief period of time I thought that maybe I had access, because in the launcher the install button suddenly started showing up for me. The only problem being that it was grayed out, and not clickable. I am guessing this was a temporary glitch because later that evening when I popped into WoW to do my garrison gold farming… it was back to hiding the install button again. The truth is… even if I had beta access I probably would not be playing it much. My recent return to Elder Scrolls Online has taught me that… maybe I am just not a good beta candidate these days. I absolutely blame the almost two years of regularly ESO testing for my diminished desire to play after getting to the veteran ranks. I quite literally had burned myself out on all of the newbie content, so that the thought of alting my way through it again just felt painful. I poured my heart and soul into that testing experience, because I wanted that game to be the best damned game it could be… and honestly judging it today through very clear eyes… I think it turned out pretty great.
I want to be able to walk into Overwatch and have the game feel free and exciting, and be able to experience the new player rush along with everyone else. Sure I would love to be able to play the game when the whim hits me right now, but I am not going to be the sort of hard core tester and bug reporter that they really need right now. In this sort of game, balance and gameplay statistics are key… and they need a sheer volume of data to sift through to be able to shape their design decisions. So for me… who is going to maybe play the game once a month… I am not exactly a great resource and if you replaced me with someone who is going to stream the game every night… you would be far better off in the end. I’ve developed this aversion to playing games before they are officially released. Now granted… I still do regularly…. but I have begun to learn my lesson. Torment: Tides of Numenera for example is absolutely available to me to test because I backed the project…. but I have zero desire right now to do so. I want to play the finished version of the game, when it is “ready for primetime” and not have to sift through crippling bugs. Maybe my tolerance for “broken games” is less than it used to be… or maybe there are just so damned many things that I want to be playing that spending my time on an unfinished product feels like a waste. In any case… I am a bad beta tester, and will continue to be super happy for those who are getting invited and enjoying their time playing games like Overwatch.