Welcome to another edition of the Game Ranter Banter. Five writers take a few minutes out of their busy schedules to give their opinions on some of the most compelling and controversial recent news stories of the game industry. This week, we discuss Microsoft’s dedication to Master Chief, the new free-to-play option in World of Warcraft, Sony’s surprising online pass, the new DLC for DC Universe Online, and a surprising port of a very popular PC game.
Our readers are as knowledgeable and opinionated as our own writers, so here is the place for all of you to discuss these stories as well as any others that may have piqued your interest throughout the week.
Master Chief Does Not a Halo Make
Recently, Microsoft went on record and stated that to them, long-time protagonist Master Chief IS Halo. Some folks might agree with that assessment, but honestly, I think they’re wrong. The two Halo games that released that didn’t feature Master Chief as the main character, Reach and ODST, had great stories that stood out on their own. The mythology of the Halo series is an interesting one, if not sometimes convoluted, and while Master Chief is large part of it, he’s not the only entity.
Unfortunately, as Halo 4 will carry the flame for Master Chief, what happens when Microsoft finally hits the wall? He can’t last forever and it’ll be time to retire or die (most likely the latter). The ending of Halo 3 did leave the idea of Chief returning to duty open, but I would be hard pressed to think about what kind of games can be made after Halo 4. Microsoft should focus on the Halo universe and not rest the success of the franchise of one character. Otherwise, it might turn into something like Tomb Raider.
Hit It and Quit It
With Blizzard’s announcement that it has changed the manner for F2P, it seems on the surface that it is a good deal, but the way I see it, it is not. Currently, a player can hit level 20 and then the F2P ends, prior to that it was 14 days for free. The same restrictions are in place in both scenarios: can’t join a guild, add friends, among other restrictions.
Once you start to play, you see that you can hit 20 very quickly, especially with the changes in World of Warcraft: Cataclysm. However, once you hit 20, you can make another character, whom you can level to 20, which gives new players an option to explore Azeroth from different races, classes, and factions.
In the end, I guess Blizzard hit a nice balance, with the changes in F2P. A noob can play as many characters as he or she likes, which I highly recommend, and get a decent feel for Azeroth, see different styles of play, and decide if they are in for it. I only wish they would loosen the restrictions a bit, let them have friends, initiate conversations, do some trading in the auction house, and the like – because those are substantial parts of the overall experience.
Resistance is Futile
While most figured it was only a matter of time before one of the major three publishers followed EA’s suit and implemented some sort of online pass, no one thought the publisher to cross that threshold would be Sony — especially considering the public’s current feelings about the PSN. After the PR nightmare that was the PSN outage, most would have figured that Sony would be walking on eggshells as far as their public image is concerned, but this PSN Pass, if it is indeed the start of something new, comes completely out of left field.
Sure, the idea of an online pass isn’t something new, and it has become a fairly regular deterrent to used games sales, but it usually has a negative connotation attached to it. We’re still fairly early into this PSN Pass news so it’s best not to write Sony off just yet, but you have to wonder if Resistance 3 is just the beginning.
Brightest Day, Blackest Night… DCUO Got it Right!
I’ll admit that when I first heard about the release of DC Universe Online, I was about as excited as Beastman at the Zoo. Here was the potential to have an online MMO where I could come on, play alongside some of my most beloved comic book characters, while maybe making a name for myself in the process. The one stipulation I had was that I was granted the power of the universe…
But it never happened. Allowing players the power of the Lantern was impossible, and therefore my hopes and dreams were shattered. While DCUO had some serious potential (I tore through the beta), it still felt like it was missing some Will, with a little dash of Fear.
So then here comes the latest DLC pack: “Fight for the Light.” Rubbed in my face seven different ways, now I can actually be the Hal Jordan that Ryan Reynolds never was. If SOE was trying to get the attention of players like me that wanted specific cosmic abilities, boy did they get it right.
Crafting Up Adventure on the DS
Minecraft has become a phenomenon amongst PC gamers everywhere, and one of the best things about the wacky open-world game is the support that it receives from its community. Certain user-created mods that have hit Minecraft have inspired the game’s creator, Markus “Notch” Persson, to add the fan-made alterations to the actual game. If Persson and the rest of his team at Mojang are paying attention even half as intensively as they have proven time and time again to be doing so, then they surely have noticed that one fan has ported most of the game to the Nintendo DS.
The unofficial Minecraft DS game isn’t completely operational at the moment, but it’s something that Mojang should really keep an eye on. Minecraft seems perfectly suited to the Nintendo DS, and if Mojang decided to release the game on a Nintendo-made portable system, then this is the example they should follow. They are going to want to move fast, however, because if the game becomes available for download via the Internet then they could lose out on some potential sales.
My guess is that the project will probably be shut down, and hopefully Mojang starts work on a 3DS version after work on the Xperia Play version finishes up.