Saturday, January 11, 2014

Why DUST 514 Can Suck Sometimes

So as I'm writing this, I'm mad. I've lost three consecutive matches in DUST, but to no fault of my own. 25+ kills and less than 10 deaths in each, and a squad that had my back and pulled their weight were not why we lost. The reason we lost is because we had a team that didn't fight. After halfway through the game, they gave up and sat in the redline or MCC doing absolutely nothing. Which is a shame, because we were winning up until they did. This, as well as a few other problems, have not made the last few nights fun. So I decided to think about the reasons why DUST can sometimes suck. I've kindly listed my thoughts below, as well as some ideas that might be able to fix these problems.

1) The Blueberries
Blueberries can make or break a win. Not necessarily on whether or not they're good at the game, but the drive they have to fight for the objective(s). While not a big deal in Ambush, other than the blue dots that like to farm points with Nanite Injectors (and you people deserve to die when the enemy finally gets you), it matters in Domination and Skirmish. I can't begin to describe the frustration I feel when I die fighting for the letter and see that, out of the 10 blue dots that are actually on my map, 6 of them are in the back "sniping" - because I sure as he'll wouldn't call what they do sniping. To my squad and I, that's worthless. The lack of help we receive from them is what costs us deaths, suits, and a loss. The AFKing needs to be somehow stopped, as well. All it takes is 1 pull of the trigger every minute to keep from being kicked. And that's still no help to my team. This isn't a problem that only I experience, either. I'll admit that I've own plenty of games because the other team gave up, and the poor few enemies that kept trying would die under a glorious hail of gunfire. So how does something like this get fixed? In my opinion, there should be more incentive to fight for the objective(s). Give increased point rewards for fighting in close proximity to an objective for everyone in the battle, not just for those squads that put a defend order on it. A big part of this community scoffs at Call of Duty, and to each their own. But that's something that Call of Duty does right. When playing Domination (which is like DUST's Skirmish) or Hardpoint or any other objective game mode, you get extra points for Attacker kills for getting kills in the vicinity of the objective and defender kills for killing from the vicinity of the objective. That's extra points for Orbitals. Who doesn't like that? That's more action around the objective and more help from the team. It's like Six Flags - "More kills, more fun."

2) The Sometimes Dreadful Maps
Some of these maps, I really like. They're fun and have something for everyone. But to me, what really kills a map is when they're too big. When I play a first person shooter, I want to be in the action. When my team takes a point and pushes enemies out of the area, it's time to go take another objective. But it's space, you know? Let's take a 5 minute run to the next objective to enjoy the scenery...or not. I know, I know. Maps need to be on the larger side to accommodate the snipers, too. But these maps are too big for the amount of players allowed on the battlefield. My suggestion? Increase the number of people on the battlefield, or decrease the size of the maps a little. Another option would be to put the objectives a little closer together. Another thing that comes along with the maps - on game modes that are more centered (Domination and Ambush), cut off a portion of the map. Spur on the fight by localizing the playable area. And as always, add more maps. And some color. And endless rocks are getting old. Give me a map with a tree. A bright blue tree with bright pink leaves. CCP, if you do that you would be my best friends and I would love you forever.

3) Tanks and AV Options (Right Now)
I have nothing against tanks overall. I agree that tanks should be difficult to kill. But with the tank buff and the anti-vehicle weapons nerf this past build, it feels near impossible to the average infantryman like myself. The swarm launchers aren't as effective anymore, forge guns are useful, but when a tank throws on hardeners, it's impossible to kill one. There's nearly no amount of firepower you can aim at on with a squad to take one out effectively, all while fighting for the objective. But a tank can be dealt with. The problem arises when you come up and fight against a team with four or five tanks, or more. There's no way to effectively combat those five tanks while fighting off the rest of the enemy team. "It's a tactic," they say. No it's not. It's stupid. A fix? Limit the amount of types of vehicles on the field. There's already a limit on the number of vehicles per team, but if you limit the number of tanks (and other vehicles) allowed per team, you don't have an unfair overpowering of already difficult-to-kill vehicles. What it also does is spur people to focus more on the infantry aspect of their character when they first start, since there is no guarantee of a vehicle in a pub match, which means they'll actually be playing the first-person-shooter part of the game. But hey, maybe I'm the only one that thinks tanks are a little overpowered right now. I don't think I am, though.

4) The Proto-Stompers
We all know who they are. They're the people who feel the need to use the best equipment possible all the time just to boost their stats and make enemy teams cry. It's a part of the game. But being on the receiving end, I've vowed to never do that to another team myself. It's very possible to do well in a match without the prototype weapons, dropsuits, modules and equipment, but when that's all the other team has, it's incredibly frustrating. And imagine being completely new to the game. You turn on the game for the first time, go through the "tutorial" of the Neocom (which still leaves you at the end thinkin "what the f**k is a Neocom), finish your three or four games in the academy and hop into your first real game against other players. And you get 2 kills with 16 deaths by people in black suits using guns that have five-word names. Why in the world would you want to continue playing that game? It's the harsh reality of CCP's world, but they're catering to FPS players, who tend to prefer their games to rely more on skill than on equipment. It just doesn't bring in new players. So I have an idea. In EVE, there are certain weapons that aren't usable in high-security space, such as bombs amongst other things. Why don't we do the same with prototype in DUST? Pub matches are "high-sec," factional warfare is "low-sec" and PC matches are "null-sec." This prevents prototype from being used in at least pub matches (the general games you hop into everytime you turn on the game), putting people on more of a same level equipment-wise, forcing skill, tactics and gun game to become important - the values of an FPS player. You also don't have newbies dying in two shots from a proto scrambler rifle, or coming up to a fight in which they can't even tear through half of the enemy's shields. That's a better new player experience and would probably retain a larger group of incoming players. What it also does is add an incentive for people to try and make their way into Planetary Conquest. If they want to use the cool stuff in the game, they need to be competitive. It spurs on the PC portion of the game, creating a lively competitive atmosphere instead of it just being the same corporations taking the same districts over and over again.

5) The Lack of Delivery of What We Thought DUST Would Be
When we first saw DUST at E3, we saw an amazing game with an amazing scope that is in the same world as, and coincides in real time with CCP's largely popular game EVE Online. There would be an open market within the game, as well as with EVE Online. All of this, along with other amazing things we thought we'd be playing when we turn on DUST. But there's no open market yet. There's barely any link between the two games, and DUST really doesn't matter at all to EVE right now. What happened to swaying the tides of war by being the boots on the ground? It's just disappointing to realize what the goal of this game was, and the potential that it could have. But we've had a beta, we're fully released, and we're still waiting. It's downhearting. I don't have a fix for this. But I urge CCP to start pulling through on these things that they said this game would be. The PS4 has released and they haven't transferred the game over to it (understandable, actually). But that doesn't stop the consumers from buying a PS4. And there's competition coming. New MMOFPS games are coming in games like The Division, Destiny, and the already largely popular free-to-play game called Planetside2. CCP, you have to give your players a reason to keep playing. I know y'all are patient and have long-term goals, but you need to start bringing this game to what you and your players want it so badly to be. Coming from an avid FPS player for years, these consumers will wait for fixes and updates that will make a game better, but they won't wait forever.

P.S. That bright blue tree with bright pink leaves would help. Just saying.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 - EVE and DUST - A Year in Review

Hey there pilots and pilettes, mercs and mercettes, Kondor here.

You know, I've found that, from the few times I've written, the best content I put out is from the posts that I don't plan. So I hope that, with this sporadic decision to look back at the year in EVE Online and DUST 514, I will be able to deliver the best content that I can for the final post for the 2013 year. So with that, here I go.

I suppose I'll start with DUST 514 first, since that was the first CCP game I ever played. I'm new to the CCP's world of gaming. I began playing DUST when the game was released as a full game on May 14th, out of a desire for a new shooter to play. I come from a first person shooter background, my big game being Call of Duty. But I wanted something new, all the other shooters were getting old. And then I saw DUST on the Play Station Network for FREE. What a perfect opportunity to try a new game, right? I downloaded the game, played for an hour and then immediately realized I needed to join a corporation if I ever wanted to have some fun - playing it by myself just wouldn't do it. So I put a message up on the forums on got a message from superhero rawdon, a heavy who has since become a great friend of mine. In the short time that I've played the game, we've been through some of the worst drama with other players that you could think of. All the politics of EVE in a FPS. Glorious. But I've had my ups and downs with the game. When I first started, I didn't know if I'd like the game. I felt that it was more based on time and money put into the game than skill, which I still believe to be mainly true today. But not as much as I thought, because I can sure waste a few proto-stomping jerks before my humble 17k ISK suit I use every match. But the game can be frustrating, and it all got stale to me - at a point I refused to play the game for a couple months. But my buddy super managed to convince me to play again with the onset of the most recent updates. And I have to say, for whatever reason, the addition of the combat rifle has been this game's saving grace for me. Ever since I started using the weapon, I've enjoyed DUST more than I ever have before. The game is finally fun for me again, and I look forward to continue playing it. But if I may, for any developer that might end up reading this, I have a few suggestions that you can choose to take how you will. DUST caters to a different group of players - console players. Console players are generally not used to waiting a long time for updates, new things, etc. If you can figure this out and make it work for you for the better, you'll have your players down to a science. And more for the game specifically, there are just a few more things. First off, game modes. If you  would add a few more game modes to your list instead of just the general Ambush, Skirmish and Domination, things wouldn't feel so monotonous sometimes. Next are your maps. You need more maps for the same reason as stated above. Also, maybe some smaller maps. Some of these maps are sometimes just too big for the amount of players that are in a game. Some new weapons for the heavies and a possible raise in the skill point cap might be good, too. And that's just some suggestions amongst others I've had or heard from other people. But overall, great work CCP. I thoroughly enjoy your game...for the time being, of course. ;-) Keep up the good work.

Now for my journey in EVE Online. I began playing EVE just a week after I started playing DUST. A guy named Eric convincede to play, and had also since become a good friend of mine. I've been through some interesting corporation situations with him as well. But through it all, he and I have stuck together. Since I started, I have two active accounts, one an aspiring industrialist, and the other has hopes of making it in wormhole space. I'm not self-sufficient yet, unfortunately. I haven't figured out a good way to do that for myself yet. But I'm working on it. Unlike DUST, I haven't had ups and downs with EVE - I've enjoyed it every step of the way, minus the times I've lost ships and been high-sec wardeced. But hey, it happens. Others have been through way worse. And I haven't quit, so that's a plus. For the EVE dev teams, I have no advice. I'm sill figuring out your masterpiece of a game. But thank you for a game that so many enjoy so much - y'all are awesome.

CCP, you are a fantastically awesome game creator. Thanks to all of you developers and employes for delivering wonderful products. Great job on a good 2013, and here's hoping for a better 2014.

Have a happy new year, and as always, fly safe.


Thursday, November 21, 2013

RUBICON - Power to the Individual

Hey guys and gals, Kondor again.

So by now I'd hope that we've all managed to download the new RUBICON patch and have played around with it a little bit. I love the new log in screen, it's very slick. The update to the certificates is great, and helpful to those of us who use it to aim our skill training the right way. And we still need time to see how the new ship balancing and the mobile structures affect our gameplay. But this isn't meant to be a review of RUBICON. No, this is more of a praise of CCP's new expansion to our beloved game, for RUBICON has truly given the individual the capability for power.

Especially with the addition of the mobile structures, the individual player can take the reigns of how he (or she) lives in the universe. There's no more need for a pilot with small-scale aspirations to join or create a corporation in order to set up their own personal base (albeit a small one). They can play solo, move by themselves, go where they want. With the Mobile Depot, if a pilot wants to go out and survive in the cruelest parts of the universe, they can. They need to set up their own form of defenses, an escape route, a plan. There's no need to be stationary. The Mobile Tractor Units can make some interesting PvE logistical decisions and allow for faster operations for the casual ratter. And for those individuals that simply wish to be a pain in the ass to miners and aspiring planetary industrialists, there's the Mobile Siphon Unit. Oh, and for some extra protection when by yourself, the Mobile Cunosural Inhibitor might be a useful resource.

Yeah, Kondor, we know all of this already. Why are you so excited? Well, I'm excited because this all brings power to the individual player. When there might not have been much variation in the way that a single person might have played in the past, RUBICON has given them options. This is the time for true privateering. But what's more is that these individuals can come together and utilize their tactics in different ways, some up with new ways to play the game. Even pester people with some tactics that might not have been available to them in the past. Let alone new ways for the bigger corporations and alliances to carry out their business - alone and with one another.

I may sound a little overexcited, and my focus might be narrowed on this subject, because there's quite a bit of other content that was added. But I think this is the meat behind RUBICON, the part that will change the game, that will change how people play. But hey, what do I know? I'm just a preoccupied pod, right?

Enjoy RUBICON, everyone. And of course, fly safe.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Logistics Give Me Nightmares

Hey guys and gals,

Kondor's here again. And this time, I've actually got things about the game to talk about, instead of annoying life things. Did I just hear a sigh of relief? If I did, you and me both.

So I've recently made the determination that I want to be a wormhole resident. Yup, a rash decision, much? Well, I haven't done much in the grand scope of EVE yet. But ever since I've started playing, I've been incredibly interested by one thing - exploration. And what's more explorative than uncharted and lawless spaces that are wormholes? Null-sec space, you say? Nah, too many "rules," too many people, too organized for what it is. Wormhole space, though. No local, natural attributes that might affect how effectively you can perform in combat, limits on what you can and can't bring with you, potential for difficult PvE, certainty for interesting and exciting PvP, mining, gas, hacking, salvaging and more. It's got a little bit of everything, and it can all be turned into a profit. All of it is exciting to me. And you don't really know what you're going to get until you get there. Hell, you might not even know then.

So like the good little pilot that I am, I started doing my research. I currently have nine tabs open in my browser on my laptop for wormhole information alone. And I don't even feel like I've scratched the surface of cracking the mystery just enough to go in prepared.

So far, I've determined what ships I need to be bringing with me for just a modest start. I've decided that I'll use an alt as well, to make things more efficient. I roughly understand what I'll need to be doing with a POS. I've got skill plans out the wazoo for a while. And among it all, I'm still excited. Intimidated? Yeah, a little bit. I think there's be something wrong with me if I wasn't nervous or wary of the fact that I could end up in my own torrential failure. But you're never going know if you don't at least try, right?

Along with that, my buddy and I are having another go at running a corporation. This will be my second attempt, at least. The last one wasn't any specific failure of our own - we probably lacked on the communication aspect with members - but we're looking to do it right this time. And yes, we'll be in a wormhole.

The logistics and planning for all of this is absolutely insane, though. I really have no idea where to start with coming up with a plan. Gotta figure out what I need to do to get prepared, what kind of requirements we'll have, safety protocol, recruitment, etc. But if we can get this to work, it'll all be worth it.

If any of y'all know anything about living in wormholes and would be willing to give some tips and advice, don't hold back. It'll all be welcome.

Thanks for reading my first in-game-related post. Your support is much appreciated.

Have a good day and fly safe.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Distractions - They Suck

Hey guys and gals,

Kondor here again. After a while, unfortunately. I apologize for not having been writing - I've been busy. Busy with school, busy with friends, busy with distractions.

Merriam-Webster defines a distraction as "something that makes it difficult to think or pay attention." To think or pay attention? Well, I sure as hell think - I don't have the luxury NOT to think - so that's not it. But to pay attention? That, my friends, is something that is a problem.

My time flying through New Eden these past few weeks has been very limited - really, the most I've been able to manage is to hop on for a few minutes every few days to update my skill que. Thankfully, I'm smart enough to realize that I should probably skill into things that probably don't require loads of personal time each day. Freighters and Planetary Interaction - my low-maintenance and time-effective solutions. But why is my time limited? Well, distractions.

First off, in real life (and then we'll get back to games), I'm a college student. I'm working on a major in Biomedical Sciences, which is pretty much a lot of chemistry and science. I don't have a problem with science, but I'm not a big fan of chemistry. But I do what I need to to get to where I want to go. The thing is that it's so time consuming that I haven't even had much of a chance to go out and hang out with friends, play some sports, etc. And that sucks. I've spent many of my nights at a tutoring establishment, which thankfully helps. But all of this means less time for EVE.

In the gaming world, I'm also an active DUST mercenary. Now, my personal beliefs about the game aside (maybe I'll write about those sometime - they might be entertaining), I play DUST with a group of guys that are really enjoyable to play with. But even in games there's drama, apparently. Sparing you the long explanation and all of the stupid little details, we had one leader decide he didn't like the other leader all of a sudden, and it spiraled down from there. Our core group of guys are still with us, which is a good thing. But this drama took up way too much of my time, since I decided to get involved. Entertaining as that was (and by that, I mean that arguing with some certain people and making their points moot was very entertaining) it took up an unnecessary amount of my time. Which means, yet again, distractions suck.

I was invited into the world of EVE by someone who has since become a good friend of mine. There are only a few people that I would love to meet in life from the gaming world - he's one of them. But due to everything that's been going on in the past few weeks, I've only been able to talk with him once or twice. That sucks. What sucks even more is that he is having the same problem that I am - an overabundance of distractions keeping him from living his EVE life. And our time of playing games (video games, for those of you who need clarification) with each other has decreased immensely.

But whatever. They're just distractions, right? They'll go away. I sure hope so. Because non-stop school is getting old. I'm done with stupid game drama. And I want to get back to the game that I enjoy playing - the one that doesn't tell me what to do. I want to get back out into space and fly. I have a life to make for my character there that has been put on hold - I don't plan on that being a set-in-stone thing. I'll fight my way through the unnecessary distractions, deal with the necessary ones, and find my way back to space.

I've got things to do there.

Thanks for reading, and fly safe.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Priorities - Business vs. Leisure

I didn't have to think about what it was that I wanted to talk about this week. I've had this certain topic weighing on my mind lately, and its really been making me think about myself and how I prioritize my time and activities. Today's post will be a commentary on my thoughts about business - things that have to be done, whether it's work, schooling or something else that you have committed yourself to - versus leisure time.

So, first off, I have a quick little fact for all of you that you don't know about me yet. I'm a student. I go to college, and I'm working towards a major in Biomedical Science. My dream has always been to be a veterinarian. This choice has put me on a path of tough and time consuming schoolwork. I don't claim to have the largest workload in the world, nor is my material the hardest. Rather, that's more of a subjective argument - but that's an argument for another time. Let's just say that, for me, the things that I need to learn and study, like chemistry, are difficult. But I'm willing to work through and put myself through the torture and unpleasantness of the journey of that schoolwork to get to the end goal. I've never wanted to do anything else with my life other than to be a veterinarian, so this is very important to me.

But, here's the kicker. How in the world do I stay sane when all I do is study for classes such as Organic Chemistry and Biology, and more? Where's the break? The rest? How about having a chance to go out and socialize with friends? Make new ones? Be involved in something for fun? Where's the fun? I've found that I, personally, cannot go without leisure time in my life. I need time to do things that I want to do, time to just relax and take a break and hang out, either with myself or with friends, or online. That time is so valuable to me that I think I would go crazy if I couldn't have it.

So there's the dilemma, right? On one hand, I have school and studies that are so fundamental to the future that I want to live, that it is impossible to ignore. On the other hand, I have time for me, in which I can relax and just have a good time. And now I'm a human scale. One of those old ones, usually called balances, not the electric piece of plastic you stand on in your bathroom. Where is that right amount of time spent on each that brings out the perfect blend of the two? Do I ignore the "fun time" and go all out in the serious business? Because I sure can't drop anything related to school. I still don't have the answer. Which is what frustrates me. I have yet to find my perfect balance. But I have a responsibility to myself in both aspects. For now, as I continue to find out how I need to balance my time that yields the best results, I have cut down on my game time. Playing games is a lot of my leisure time. So for now, I've given myself incentive to cut back on the games. A large way of doing this has been just to not buy a PLEX to support my second character. For now, I'm running one character only - Chix Kondor. And this has helped - it's just not the final solution.

But, of course, my perfect balance may not be your same perfect balance. We're different people. We have different interests. Different likes and dislikes. Different values, and different futures. So whatever my perfect balance might be, yours is very likely different. Have you found your balance? Are you looking for one? Have you found yourself in the same situation? If you're up for some discussion, feel free to post your thoughts in the comments below. I'd like to hear what you have done to cope.

And since we're reading this, we're likely pilots in EVE Online. We tend to out EVE pretty high up in our priorities in life? Why? I don't know. That'll be different for everyone, too, so I can't even pretend to be able to answer that question competently. What I can say is this - while we might find EVE Online important, it is still just a game, and we can't let it wrap us up and preoccupy that time that is due to more important things. While virtual space is cool, and we've invested our time and money into creating our life in that universe, nothing can even come close as a suitable substitution for real life - with human interactions, tangible and real goals and dreams, and even meaningful success.

So what do y'all think? Thoughts? Opinions? Comments, even? Put them in the comments below, and I'd love to have a conversation with you.

Happy Friday, and fly safe.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

The First Post! - An Introduction

Hey guys and gals,

Kondor here! I hope everyone is doing well. This post marks the complete and total start of my brand new New Eden-oriented blog. Yay! And how do I start my blogging experience? Well, an introduction sounds pretty good.

I'm Kondor. In EVE Online, my character is Chix Kondor, and my DUST 514 merc is Kondor Pendragon. Already, you can see that I involve myself in more than just one of CCP's New Eden universes. And, being an active player of both games, I find myself to have a lot of thoughts and opinions related to EVE or DUST, or even this vast gaming universe in general. So, that's what this blog is for - to provide an outlet for myself to put my thoughts and opinions out into the New Eden world, and to get other peoples' thoughts and ideas and feedback. Have a conversation; make friends and make enemies; have an intellectual conversation and have an argument - whatever it is, I enjoy the sharing of thoughts and opinions. So, as you read my content from week to week, please feel free to put your own thoughts in the comments below any post. I will read them and respond to them.

As I've stated, I will post new content weekly. Every week, I'll go on and rant about some topic that's on my mind. It may be about EVE or DUST 514. It can be a serious topic, a personal topic, or even something that someone might find a little humorous. Whatever it ends up being, I won't know until I write it - I won't plan on what I'll write until I write. Don't take that to mean that I won't be knowledgeable on the subject that I produce my long-winded rants on - I will research something so that I can create a fully educated opinion. So, every Friday, come back to The Preoccupied Pod to see what's on my mind, and maybe get something in your mind as well.

And before I start getting asked this question, I will tell you why my blog is called The Preoccupied Pod. First off, in EVE Online, our pod is our life. It is the vessel that our clones reside in while in any ship, and even gives us that one last chance to get away from a sticky situation if things go horribly wrong. So that's where that came from. "Preoccupied?" Well, I'm a busy guy. I'm almost always doing more than one thing at a time. And I almost always have something going through the massively smart head of mine (yeah, yeah - shameless smart plug). Obviously, that doesn't stop me from having my own opinions. As for "The?" Well, it's a word that works pretty well at the beginning of a title. And I don't want to be just any preoccupied pod, I want to be THE preoccupied pod. Thus, The Preoccupied Pod.

Anyways, thanks for reading and dealing with some of my stupid humor. Check back for new updates, or come back on Fridays to see what's going on in my head.

Have fun, and fly safe!