Firstly, before I start this week’s post, I would like to apologise once again for not beginning the competition I’ve been promising for the last two weeks. In my defence, I tried to start it yesterday but an unfortunate mishap with my card prevented that. I’m not a fan of promising something and then failing to deliver and I will run the competition at some point, of that you can be sure, but I don’t want to promise a time-frame right now in case I break it again. I’m hoping for before the end of this month but I won’t promise anything.
Anyway, now we can get back to the topic at hand. Whilst the news from the gaming industry has been busy this week, as per usual, my gaming activity has been practically non-existent unfortunately. As such, the bulk of this week’s post will be taken up by the news round-up.
Also, on an unrelated note, I’d like to throw my deepest sympathies out there for the victims of the crazed shooting in Denver, Colarado. I can’t even begin to understand the horror they experienced when all they wanted to do was watch a movie and it sucks that you can’t even do that anymore without feeling safe.
Battlefield 4 announced by EA
The rumours of a continuation of the Battlefield franchise heightened in frequency earlier this week when an advert for upcoming release Medal of Honor: Warfighter promised access to a Battlefield 4 beta in 2013. After initially denying the rumours, EA then went on to confirm the existence of both the game and the beta, with both likely targeting 2013 release windows.
Personally, I think it’s too soon for Battlefield 4. If anything, I would’ve preferred Bad Company 3. With the DLC for Battlefield 3 extending into Spring next year, plus whatever they have planned to proceed it, the announcement of a sequel so soon sounds troublesome. I’d like to think that they aren’t treating the success of Battlefield 3 as a possible reasoning for turning the franchise into a yearly release as it isn’t working for Call of Duty’s creativity and it won’t work here. Plus, I hope they aren’t restricting access to the beta solely to Warfighter owners as I am still hesitant on even considering buying that game after the horror of the 2010 release. It makes me shudder just thinking about it.
Runescape achieves 200 million users
PC MMO Runescape has been around for eleven years now and this week, developer Jagex revealed that the game has passed the 200 million registered users mark which, as you can probably tell, is a rather substantial figure indeed.
The game’s community is likely to be predominantly free-to-play users rather than subscription holders, though Jagex did not release that information, nor what percentage of said community is still active. I would be curious to see said info as it would be interesting to see how many people have abandoned the game over the years either through inability to enjoy the game anymore or from frustration at the decisions being made that hurt the experience.
I used to play Runescape many, many years ago and even then, the game was beginning down an unknown path. Popular features were removed from the game for shaky reasons, changes were made that made the game more of a chore to play and free-to-play users were deliberately left to catch hypothermia in the cold as the subscribed players enjoyed a massive banquet of exclusive features that made the rest look pitiful in comparison. I know I left the game because it was no longer what I had signed up for.
By strange coincidence, I ventured back into Runescape a few weeks ago, albeit very briefly. The amount of changes that had been made resulted in the game looking and feeling almost unrecognisable and whilst it’s good for a game of this nature to want to reinvigorate itself, I’m not sure it has been for the better. For a start, their insistence on shoving subscription models down your throat from the get-go was off-putting, amidst a whole range of other niggles.
There’s no doubt that Runescape is still a huge player in the MMO-scape but I imagine that most of its current active user-base are players who joined more recently. I can’t see there still being a large contingent of players that have stuck with it since the early days and if that’s not a sign of the game’s downfall in quality, I don’t know what is.
Security on Xbox Live strengthened
Earlier this week, Microsoft announced their intentions on making the security on their huge online gaming network stronger and more hindering to those looking to be troublesome miscreants.
The outlined plans can be read via the source link below but one particular line caught my eye, and that was that ‘password’ and ‘12345’ are still two of the most used passwords today. In times where user accounts are being lost every day to hackers and phishing scams, it boggles my mind that somebody could be so lax with their security on an account that could potentially hold their credit card information and thus result in tremendous financial problems. Anybody that’s so fruitful with things like this almost deserve to have their details stolen from them out of pure stupidity more than anything.
Of course, there are accounts out there that are being lost due to genuine hacking and any attempt to make that more difficult is welcomed by me. Personally, I’ve never had issues like this except for a few years ago when the Live email address associated with my gamertag was ‘blocked’ by an idiot continuously attempting to sign into the account with incorrect credentials. I resolved that by changing the email address on the account to one completely unknown to anybody but me – a tip I recommend to avoid activity such as the type I mentioned above.
Whilst I appreciate that the loss of some accounts is not the fault of the owner, taking good care of your account security goes a long way. Making your password so outrageously simple as 12345 is just stupid. You might as well paint your details on a wooden placard and walk around town naked with it attached to your groin.
Source: Xbox.com forums
Taiwanese man dies after playing Diablo 3 for 40 hours straight
In another of these types of stories that crop up every so often, an 18 year old Taiwanese man died after reportedly playing hit PC title Diablo 3 for over 40 hours without interruption or breaks.
According to reports, the man checked himself into a private room at an internet cafe and spent almost the next two days playing Diablo 3, neglecting to take breaks to eat or sleep. It’s believed that the cause of death was due to a blood clot or cardiovascular problems from remaining in a sitting position for such an extended period of time.
Whilst it’s always sad to hear stories like this, that does not mean that the game, or the game’s developers, are even remotely at fault. As was the case this time and with previous stories of a similar nature to this, I’ve seen a few people laying some of the blame on the game and that they should include a notice to take breaks every so often. Quite frankly, that doesn’t work. Several Nintendo titles have notices that pop up at timed intervals to remind you to take a break and I know that I personally take absolutely no notice of them. In fact, I consider them more of a hindrance than a help. If somebody is determined to spend an ungodly number of hours on a game, no amount of warnings or on-screen notices are going to stop them.
As is usually the case with these stories, it sounds as though the man was simply so addicted to the game that everything else around him became insignificant. It’s completely true that games can sometimes be ridiculously addictive to play and can consume copious amounts of your time, but the average player still knows when to eat, drink, pee and sleep. If you don’t, the fault lies solely with you, as does any injury you may receive because of it. People are warned about sitting down too long on planes and people still do it all the time. Do we blame the airlines? No we don’t. The same applies here.
Minecraft: Xbox 360 Edition sells over 3 million.
We all knew that Minecraft’s arrival on the Xbox 360 would be big but we never quite imagined it would be THIS big. Earlier this week, creator Notch revealed over Twitter that the Xbox 360 version had surpassed three million total sales since it was released on the platform back at the beginning of May this year.
For a game that quite literally takes gaming right back to its most basic foundations to have become quite the phenomenon it is, is remarkable. I’d have to say that possibly the biggest contributory factor to the game’s continued success is how addictive it is. For example, you finish building one mega structure and before you know it, you’re immediately planning another. You mine one cave across the world and then you want to do it again. If Minecraft were a drug, it would belong in the Class A category, defined by its tendency to reduce you to a drooling lump who spends his day building fortresses and shearing sheep.
Whilst Minecraft may still be a constricted experience on the Xbox 360 as opposed to its bigger brother on the PC, it’s making steady progress in getting to where it wants to be. It will probably be a long, long time before it catches up with the PC version but it’s clear that no matter how many features it’s currently lacking, the players are still sticking firmly with it.
The above has also been highlighted by the fact that the game has remained the second most-played game on Xbox Live since it was released, being beaten only by Modern Warfare 3 and taking a higher position than another Call of Duty title – Black Ops. I don’t remember a time when an Arcade title has usurped the biggest players in the online gaming market before but if it has, it’s not happened for a long time. It’s clear that players appreciate the unprecedented freedom and control that Minecraft allows you to play with and I wouldn’t be surprised if it passes the 5 million sales mark in the next few months.
What I’ve Been Playing
As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, I haven’t played much of anything this week. In fact, Minecraft is the only game I’ve played and not for very long at that. I often have periods during the Summer where gaming isn’t as big an attraction as it usually is and this week was one of them. Plus, it also didn’t help that I got my hands on the amazing Nexus 7 tablet device that’s only just been released, which has kept a firm grip on me ever since I took delivery of it. In fact, I used it to write half of this post!
Anyway, back on topic. My escapades on Minecraft this week were spent creating a crop farm after so long without one (if those pigs trample on my crops again, I’ll rain down fire and brimstone on their behinds), a wooden observation post that’s attached to a cliff and looks down over the rest of my creations, and a neat path system that connects all of the structures to make everything look tidy and clean. It’s amazing how something as laborious as making paths can actually be so fulfilling but that’s Minecraft all over; it makes the boring brilliant.
I’ve put nearly 100 hours into Minecraft so far and I can see many more being spent on it in the near future. There are often times when a game comes along that simply never gets boring, irrespective of how long you spend playing it. Times like that don’t come along that often but when they do, you take notice straight away. Minecraft is one of those games that stills gives me things to do after so much time has already been spent on it.
And that’s a wrap for this week’s post. To re-iterate what I said at the beginning, I can’t promise a time-frame for when I will run the competition I’ve been promising for some time. You can definitely be assured that it will happen and hopefully not before too long, so it would be wise to keep an eye out if you’re interested.
Until then, however, feel free to share your thoughts on the news items I’ve mentioned above, as well as your own gaming activities from the past week. Hit the comment box below and a unicorn will appear for your troubles. Well, not really but you can try.