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Because I have more money than sense and I don’t learn from past disappointments. Or at least the recent disappointments have not been enough to completely wipe out any hope remaining from past iterations of the game. I started playing Civ back in 1991 when I was 20 years old. I’m 45 in a few months, so this game has been a part of almost my entire adult life. Civ V was a broken game on release, there is no other possible way to describe it. It was redeemed somewhat, saved would be a better term, by the team that released the Beyond the Sword expansion. That same team is behind Civ VI which is why I have some hope.

For me the best part of any Civ game is the beginning up until around the middle period. After that it’s more like you’re just going through the motions. I’ve always thought that if they could get that same playability and feeling all the way through to the end that would be the crowning Civ game.

So lets have a look at the proposed changes. Governments are coming back much like in Civ IV together with civics. There is a separate civic tree which functions like the research tree but uses culture points to progress. Research is going to be effected by your physical surroundings. For example, if your civ is in the middle of a land-locked desert you’re going to have a hard time researching sailing. However, if you found a coastal city or start building ships then that will accelerate the tech progress in that area. Units can be stacked together into armies. This is a really important change as Civ V with the no-stack rule just ended up looking like a world covered in military units. Happiness will be local, not global.

The biggest change in Civ VI looks to be how cities are built and managed. No longer will they be in a single square, but now they will be made up for different districts which will be able to be individually attacked. Another big change is that wars will divided into just or unjust wars. A justified war has a large penalty reduction in comparison to an unjust war. Also apparently the AI has had a massive boost. The game will have a new engine which will be for the first time moddable and there are confirmed mods for multiplayer. Roads will be determined by trade routes and will be built by traders accordingly.

Release date is about four months away I think. Here is a video to whet your civ appetites. And a mega reddit thread on the subject.

AA

SJW entryism at its finest. Your game is dead, guys. Just move on. There’s nothing to salvage here.

A write up about this in more detail on my other blog.

Poor old ArcheAge. Since Black Desert opened its vast realms have been depopulated to an extent that pvpers wave at each other and have a chat before they get down to the business of trying to lop each others’ heads off. AA was having major problems long before BDO opened its doors, mainly to do with its terrible launch and equally horrible upgrade releases and mind-numbingly stupid community management. But at least there were some committed players that gritted their teeth and stayed for the long haul.

Those die-hard players can get pretty tetchy, however when they watch the game slowly dying before their eyes. They are apt to complain, to vent their frustrations in public in an attempt to see some improvement in their increasingly miserable gaming lives. And so what does the AA community management team do in these circumstances?

Why, they introduce a long list of rules under which all players must grovel.

Thanks for dropping by to participate in the myriad of conversations that happen here on the forums on a daily basis. The ArcheAge community is a safe, welcoming environment for everyone playing the game. We want to encourage all of you to post your many in-game experiences, discuss the latest news, ask questions to the staff, participate in our events, and perhaps meet new friends!

That said, before you jump into any of our many threads, we do have a few rules that all community members must abide by when participating in the community. These rules are in place so everyone may freely take part in our community and let their voices be heard. Please take the time to read the below rules in full, as not knowing them does not excuse you from breaking them!

Hmm. Lots of exclamation marks there! The key line that characterizes this as a pure SJW takeover is the line that I have bolded. Safe and welcoming means you may no longer voice disagreement with the new political mindset. Their ‘few rules’ run to a list that is 22 points long. Good luck not breaking one of them because you couldn’t remember it! But at the bottom of the list they have written this:

This list is not considered to be exhaustive, and moderators and community team members maintain the ability to discipline and ban accounts at their sole discretion. These rules may be modified or added to by the Community Team at any time, with or without prior announcement.

So there you go. Even if you play by their ‘few rules’ their moderators can ban you for no reason at all. But wait, there’s more.

Hand in hand with this announcement was AAs first ‘Letter from the Community Manager’. Her name is Seraphina “Celestrata” Brennan and she has been there for 9 months now! [I don’t know why she has a made-up game name when she could just use her actual first name as a pretend game handle.] She starts off her new announcement with this little snippet:

First, let’s talk about where we are at right now as a community. I want to be honest with everyone: We don’t have the best reputation as an open, welcoming player base.

I’m sure many of you read the articles that people write about our game and our community across the internet. From those many articles, the one point of feedback that personally hits me the hardest is when I see someone tell their friends that we are a toxic community that should be avoided.

How about that for a way to start your first community announcement? Slag off the whole community! At least, what’s left of it. There’s a whole lot of rambling where she says not much at all and then lots of exciting new features they’re going to introduce, and then at the bottom she slips in this little doozy:

On May 26th, all server-specific forums in the Worldgates section (except for the Public Test Server) will be closed and retired to an Archive forum. Those threads will be preserved so others may refer back to them, but the Archives will be closed to new posts. If there’s any information you wish to personally save from a thread, make sure to do it before May 26th!

For those not in the know, the individual server forums were the community hub of AA. When I played the game they were the only forum that I checked out. But with all those forum servers it’s kinda hard to police a 22 point long list of behavioral rules and regulations. What to do? Close them down and lump everyone in together! It will be inclusive!

The reaction to this, well, it hasn’t gone down too well. But this is what happens when you hit the panic button and let SJWs into the building to save you. They will save you by killing you. Better to have a completely pure and politically correct game that is dead and empty than risk having anyone who spreads that ‘toxicity’ and ‘hate speak’. This will be the final nail in the AA game coffin. I’m expecting a large influx in BDO as we speak.

Here are the enchantment stats for Black Desert Online for those needing them.

Enchants

Cross-posted from my main blog but also relevant here.

 

Some of you may or may not be aware of a movement in the science fiction/fantasy writing world called, The Sad Puppies. Now in its 4th year, the puppies is an attempt to shine a light on the politicization of the Hugo Awards process. It has been very successful, particularly in stirring up a good old fashioned hornets nest of controversy. For the record, I stand firmly with the puppies, sad, rabid, or otherwise.

One of the contentions of the puppies is that fiction writing over the past 20 years or so has turned away from an emphasis on story-telling and character development to one of technique and correct political messaging. Style over substance if you will. It is no surprise that when you stop telling great stories in preference to lecturing your readership with the politically correct tropes of the day, that the readers tend to move on to other things.

I discovered a post titled Empathy and Responsibility in writing by one Alexander Freed. It is a startling article. I had to read it several times to really understand its meaning, (an indictment both of the message and the writer’s lack of ability). The article places the context of writing in that of the video game milieu, but in the worldview of the politically correct I am sure that this is applicable across all mediums.

The core message of the piece is this in my own words:

You may only write about a certain demographic if you are sure they will not be offended by your words or you are already part of that demographic.

An example quoted from the piece:

If you’re a man, are you prepared to justify to a woman the casting and portrayal of women in your story?

Try reading that a few times. What I take from this is the new-found awareness that I can only write a female character if I am sure that it won’t give offense to women anywhere. The giving or taking of offense is based on emotional reactions, better known as feelings. I have no control over the feelings of other people. Writing as a man it would be impossible to justify any portrayal of a woman based on this criteria. It seems that I am now forbidden to portray females in the written form without permission of the authorities.

If you’re not Hispanic, are you prepared to justify to a Hispanic person how you cast (or didn’t) Hispanic characters?

If you write about Hispanics you lose. If you don’t write about Hispanics you lose as well. Heads I win, tails you lose?

If you’ve never been in a gang, are you prepared to justify your crime story to a gang member?

Well, I tend not to hang around criminal elements and I doubt they spend much time reading.

If you’ve never been disabled, are you prepared to justify your handling of a paraplegic character?

I stubbed my toe once, does that count?

Based on these parameters I doubt whether Tolkien would have ever been allowed to write The Hobbit. I have no doubt that Freed is perfectly serious with his intentions. No matter how ridiculous the demands, the world of political correctness is a race to the bottom as its followers attempt to show their true virtue to the cause by constantly trying to outdo one another.

Freed has of course completely misrepresented why art is created in the first place. If you work from the basis of telling a story then what he has written seems mad. But if your basis is instead to use the medium to deliver the message of political correctness and social justice then what he writes makes perfect sense. In his world, the writer’s responsibility is to write correctly. The trap of course is that in a race to the bottom what was correct under their ever-changing guidelines will be bad-think mere months after its publication. Nobody is safe in a totalitarian world.

This is why the GamerGate movement began, as gamers were not prepared to put up with this level of insanity. It is telling that many other mediums did not stand up for their art in the face of this totalitarian movement.

Thus the Sad Puppies campaign is not just an attempt to make the Hugo awards more representative. It is an attempt to wrest control back from frauds and charlatans like Alexander Freed. And the more that the Sad Puppies make headway, the more that the gatekeepers will scream to high heaven.

Apparently Azuriel might play BDO in the future so he can fiddle with the auction house.

 

“… But even though I feel a strong twinge to jump into Black Desert to fiddle with the AH – Bhagpuss mentioned a particular weakness in the player-made furniture market that got my AH senses tingling – the seeming lack of “endgame” focus somehow dampens my enthusiasm …”

I don’t know how much fiddling he’s going to be doing though. Someone needs to tell him that every item listed has a set min and max price. All you can do is set it at or somewhere between the two ranges. Which somewhat constrains fiddling of any type.

From Rohan at Blessings of Kings:

The new hotness seems to be Black Desert Online. Normally I’d at least give it a try, but I’m not feeling inclined to. It reads a lot like Archeage, up to the whole PvP’ish endgame. I really would like to see someone do a comparison and say why BDO is better or worse than Archeage.

Ask and you shall receive. I played AA extensively and I’ve been in BDO since early release. First of all I don’t think it’s helpful to compare the two games as I don’t consider them to be alike at all. The only thing they have in common is that they both originated in Korea. BDO needs to be considered on its own merits and what it brings to the table as a fantasy MMO.

The World. The BDO world and landscape are aesthetically gorgeous. The look is of 14th century Italy and it feels very immersive. It is also in-depth. The map features graphs and stats on average groundwater, temperature, and humidity, as well as nodes and resources, and territorial boundaries. All of the nodes and feature areas are up for grabs to be controlled by guilds. This feature has not been unlocked yet as the developers want to give guilds time to get to an appropriate level. If a guild controls an area then they get more resources from it as compared to anyone else. Towns and cities in BDO have pleasing and interesting layouts that make sense. Also, because areas give resources through the node system there are no abandoned areas that players have moved on from due to leveling past them. The instanced housing system is not just for a player’s residence; you can use housing for storage, accommodation for your workers, as workshops and crafting stations, stables, shipyards, and more. As a result the world feels lived in and there is no set path for you to follow.

The Gameplay. There is no tab targeting in BDO. I play a ranger and I can tell you that if you go in wildly shooting you are going to pull a lot of mobs. Skills and abilities are complex but without being confusing. It takes some time to learn the key commands but once you have it down it feels intuitive. At this point I cannot comment on the balance between classes as I haven’t got to level cap and pvp yet. When you encounter a specific mob for the first time you won’t see its health bar decreasing as you kill it. You must unlock mob information by killing them at which point you will see their health bar as well as their special attacks. Once a mob is unlocked it will also give you better loot. It may take a number of mobs to unlock and when you do you will get a random letter starting from C, B, A, A+, and S. These go from least knowledge to top level. I only have got S a couple of times and I’ve been rewarded with some good loot whenever I killed those particular mobs. You gain 80% of your leveling experience from killing mobs.

Crafting. It’s extensive. There are also no restrictions on how many professions you can do. On top of that there is a server ranking system where you can see how advanced you are compared to other players. The developers want the vast majority of items in the world to be crafted by players. I’ve always liked crafting but I’m getting so drawn into this system that my leveling is beginning to suffer. You can hire workers that will gather resources for you from nodes you have discovered. They are animated and in game, and sometimes I will run past a worker struggling down the road with a load of potatoes with the name, ‘Noisy’s Worker’ over his head. Yeah man, you keep working! I have five workers at this point spread around two towns and all I need to feed them is beer which I craft with my cooking.

Guilds. Oh boy, this is in-depth. Guilds can be leveled and are done so by the guild members performing group tasks, up to 5 times a day. It might be collecting a number of resources, (which the players keep), or defending a town from attackers. Leveling the guild unlocks attribute advantages to guild members such as better defense points or accuracy. Guild members are contracted and paid a certain amount of silver per day based on their value to the guild. Guilds can declare war on one another but when guild control of nodes is released there will be strategically relevant reasons to do this. The second stage will be sieges.

NPCs. I’m really impressed with the depth and complexity of the npcs in game. There is an npc mini-game where you can unlock things like special quests, special items for sale if it’s a vendor, or knowledge. You do this by meeting and talking to other npcs that would be of interest to the one you’re talking with. You also have a personal black spirit guide who you can drag out at any time. This helps you with your character development in both fighting skills and crafting. There are other mini-games as well. The trade npc has a bartering mini-game and it also requires you to connect nodes to where you’re handing items in in order to get the best price possible.

Quests. You do quests to advance crafting, your energy points, (used for crafting), to get skill points, (level combat skills), and for contribution points, (unlock nodes and housing). There are story quests that unlock the history of the area that you’re in. Things like the common gathering quests are combined with whatever crafting skill they’re relevant to so they have some meaning. I like how escort quest npcs actually run fast behind you unlike the classic dawdlers of previous MMOs.

Summation. We’ve all played so many games that there can be a temptation to want to walk right in and get to a complete understanding right off the bat. Things that you don’t know aren’t seen as a source of discovery and learning but as a frustration that you don’t know what you’re doing. The majority of our guild aren’t at level cap yet for the simple reason that they are taking their time and enjoying learning about the game. I’ve been going for 2 weeks now and I’ve learned a lot but there’s still a lot to go. I was frustrated at the start; in fact a lot of us were. But this game rewards some effort and time taken to really get in and see what’s out there. I’m enjoying it immensely. I think that it is a real progression on MMO game development. It’s nothing like ArcheAge and for that I can be truly thankful.

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