Couch Podtatoes Episode 50: Marketing Tactics

CP4

This episode marks ONE YEAR OF COUCH PODTATOES! Yes, that’s right, we’ve been doing this that long already. We weren’t smart enough to think of something extra extravagant for this show, but I think what we did come up with is rather decent. By the way, I realize that there are 52 weeks in a year, but we did take a couple of weeks off during the course of this run.

With all of the hype of E3 starting to wind down, we saw a few themes emerge. Marketing tactics, hype cycles and even a Kickstarter announcement at the expo left some bad tastes in our mouths, despite also being very hyped for some awesome looking titles. Don’t get me wrong, Eri and I agree that this was one of the best E3s in recent years, but we also were disappointed with certain aspects. We dive into a discussion about these sorts of marketing ploys that get us to empty our wallets, year after year.

 

Download this Episode Subscribe via RSS Download on iTunes Listen on Stitcher

Couch Podtatoes Epsiode 50: Marketing Tactics (runtime: 51:38)

What are we playing? (starts at 1:42)
Discussion: Marketing Tactics (starts at 11:37)

Host Contact information:

Izlain
Blog: Me vs. Myself and I
Twitter: @mevsmyselfandi

Eri
Blog: Healing the Masses
Twitter: @ausj3w3l

The Kotaku article that was referenced:
http://www.kotaku.com.au/2015/06/how-a-video-game-is-released-in-2015/

Music Credits:
“Level Up” by Cookie Monsta (from the Riot! EP)
“Pimps and Hookers” by NOFX (from the album 45 or 46 songs that didn’t make it onto our other albums)
“Enchanted Rose” by Bury Your Dead (from the album Beauty and the Breakdown)

Couch Podtatoes is a podcast about gaming, though we might stray into other forms of media. Sometimes we use strong language, but we try to keep that to a minimum. All opinions expressed by us or our guests are our own and are in no way to be interpreted as official commentary from any companies we discuss. You can visit our official podcast page at http://couchpodtatoes.libsyn.com/. Be sure to follow us on iTunes, and/or Stitcher Radio.

Questions, comments and feedback are welcomed and encouraged!

#couchpodtatoes #podcast #gamesdiscussion #gaming

Fantasy Thursdays Week 3

fantasylcsthursdays

Week 3 Recap:

I felt my lineup was solid enough, and had only changed out a couple of positions (swapped Lemonnation with BunnyFuFuu on support, and changed my flex pick from a jungler to an ADC) for this past weekend’s matchup. The projected points for my team as opposed to my opponent was favorable, but I was handed an ass kicking anyway. I lost by over 100 points, and that’s just not right!

week3match

Team Impulse got a win and a loss, and despite Rush and Apollo doing fairly well, all 3 members of that team underperformed for me compared to my matchups. Powerofevil really fucked me despite having a stellar week 2, and only posted 10 points for both games. I didn’t do my research and it turns out they had a rough schedule last weekend, but that’s just unacceptable. Lemonnation made more points than that last year. But you can see what I was going against, pretty much the best players from NA and a beast top lane from EU. I decided that I must have too many eggs in one basket, so I decided to make some line up changes again. More on this in a bit.

week3others

The other teams matchups were also lop-sided, and as I said last week, it was probably a bad idea for Nertle to run a comp with only a single team. It appears though, that the highest producing fantasy players are taken up by Judentus and Teamsoapymid, so I think me and Nertle might be in for some hurt for a while. My 1-1 record isn’t terrible, and anything can happen, but if I lose this next game I might lose hope. We’ll see what happens I guess.

Week 4 Preview:

week4starters

I toyed with the idea of dropping Powerofevil altogether, but he has an easy schedule this week and I think he’ll actually produce close to what his projected numbers are. Maybe better, we’ll see. I Dropped Impact despite the fact that he’s a highly rated top laner, only because I think I had too many players from the same team, and he was the weakest link. I went with Hauntzer from Gravity not only because they have done some good things but because I think that he will get me more points than Impact this week. I did however hold on to Impact and Xiaoweixiao in case I need to swap them in later on. My ADCs have been doing good, and provided my mid performs I think that will balance things out. With Team Liquid having a harder schedule I decided to also put in Unicorns of Love as I think I might eek out a few more points with them. Overall, the projected matchup is more solid than it was, but still not quite where I need it to be:

week4matchup

This changed a bit as I took the screen shot before the players were locked, and 1 round of EU games already went down today so I can’t show you what the projections actually were. My 271 stays the same, but Judentus actually picked up Doublelift as ADC, so the projection went up in the 280 range. Still, this is close enough for comfort. However, last week my projections were close to my opponent’s and I got hammered, so it really depends on player performance. I still have faith but really wish I could get some CLG or TSM players on my team. Probably not going to happen. Here’s the other matchups:

week4matchupothers

Nertle is probably in a bad spot again, as Origen faces Fnatic who has a perfect record in the EU right now. However, they are projecting relatively close, but again, that’s a false sense of security. I’m glad there isn’t any sort of money riding on this because me and him would be losing it. We’ll check back in next week, and see how it all pans out.

#fantasythursdays #fantasylcs #leagueoflegends

Nostalgia Strikes Norrath (Again)

Shortly after the feeding frenzy that was the new Everquest progression server’s launch, another was added, as Daybreak was probably shocked and overwhelmed by the flood of new and returning players. Ragefire and Lockjaw are currently up and running, and I’ve seen plenty of tales around the blogosphere from newbies and veterans alike. People are enjoying the old-school grind that they had distanced themselves from for years. The more recent glut of samey themepark MMOs seems to be getting old for these folks, and I don’t blame them for having a taste for nostalgia. Everquest was my first MMO experience after all, and I too felt the urge to go back and play the game.

Rumors began spreading that the same treatment might be applied to Everquest II, and I was struck with that nostalgic twinge again. More so this time, because despite having played Everquest first, my first true MMO love was the second iteration of Norrath. You can go back through my archives here if you like, but rest assured I blogged plenty about the game, and would gladly do so again given a similar feeling. The trouble is, as I’ve discussed before, that nostalgia is a backhanded mistress that will lure you in with false security, but soon enough you realize why you stopped playing a game in the first place. In the case of a game like the Final Fantasy VII remake, nostalgia for the game makes me want it, but I also know I couldn’t possibly sit through the original again. Recent news has revealed that the game won’t be just a visual update, but rather a re-imagining and that makes it far more tolerable. But I digress.

timelockedexpansionservers

Wilhelm has a fantastic review of what is being presented in-game right now, via an inbox poll, so we can glean a bit about what may become of this new idea. It sounds very real, and as if it will be happening very soon. One new feature that will be available during this launch that wasn’t present back in 2004 is a separate PvP server. They didn’t actually put PvP into the game until 2006, which coincided with my first foray into this version of Norrath. Another post covering the “time-locked expansion servers” was over on Inventory Full, and I had this to say in the comments:

I’m in agreement that the PvP server will probably be the more successful of the two. I was actually just talking with my Dad about it, us both being long time EQ2 players. I remember when Nagafen first launched during the Kingdom of Sky days and the huge amount of players flooding Antonica and the Commonlands was amazing. It was a fun time for everyone. However, seeing as how PvP wasn’t a launch-time option, it will also be a different experience than the one I had when Nagafen launched.

Is it worth paying the sub price though? Will the populations stay and play through the content or will they just pop in to check things out and then head back to whatever else they have been doing? Time will tell. I just feel like if I was to subscribe again I should probably level my two mains up through the last couple expansions that I haven’t played, despite nostalgia tugging at my heart strings.

Also, I’d prefer keeping the game locked at EoF or Kunark, and not really going beyond that. Even SF was a decent expansion but I was pretty burnt out on the game by then. Knowing that it will indeed move past those points in time, and possibly at a very fast rate, I feel like participating wouldn’t be worth it unless you got in on the ground floor and played nothing else til you had your fill again.

The PvP side of things actually interests me far more, but that’s probably more due to the fact that I actually participated in a server launch, rather than PvP being the make-or-break factor. However, I do remember the PvP system in EQ2 being rather fun. You’d be locked to one faction or the other, and couldn’t group up with or even communicate with the opposing faction. You couldn’t attack anyone +-10 levels of yourself, unless you went into higher level zones where there weren’t restrictions. I have told the stories time and time again but I can’t express how much fun I had with MMO PvP in this game and it alone. Nothing has compared since. Still, as I said in the above comment, I don’t know that the populations will stay solid and I don’t know if it will really be worth the sub time, considering my nomadic nature with gaming these days.

In a related note, though the post isn’t pertaining to this subject, Murf wrote a piece on culling one’s backlog, and I commented:

I’m kind of the opposite in that I used to beat all of the games I owned as a kid. I didn’t always have new ones at my disposal either, so any that were too difficult sat unfinished until later when I had nothing else to do or my skills had improved. It wasn’t until I discovered RPGs that I realized some games take a very long time to beat, if you even get that far. Of course I did beat many of those early RPGs, but not all. Now days it’s hard to keep up with the pricing and the ability to spend a couple bucks on a bundle of games. Those seem to be the easiest to dismiss though, as I really only paid for the game(s) I wanted, and the others were just a bonus (or not).

I try to keep a stable of games that aren’t necessarily beatable. MMOs, MOBAs, lobby shooters, amongst others tend to be something you can let sit for a while and then go back to. Where I feel the most guilt is the games that I purchased years ago, that I know are great games, that I loved playing but dropped for the next “new shiny” and haven’t gone back to. That, and the sheer amount of money wasted on MMOs and expansions or the sub time itself. This is why I don’t really subscribe to MMOs anymore, because F2P/B2P absolves that guilt of letting the game collect dust.

What I don’t understand about myself is that ten years ago I could literally play only one game, and be satisfied. I can’t do that anymore and I don’t know why.

It seems I have come full circle in my gaming career. I started as a nomad, became committed to a single MMO (Everquest II) and then became nomadic again. Still, I have had issues with committing to one MMO, or playing religiously even when I do have a sub running. I’m not sure why this happened exactly, but I know that it’s what will probably keep me from partaking in these progression server experiences. I just know that despite subscribing to the game, I would likely not play it enough to warrant the money spent, unless perhaps I had a dedicated group to play with that could coincide with my fucked up schedule. Not only that, if I was to pay for a subscription to this game, I should probably just stick to leveling my two characters who aren’t max level but were capped out a couple of expansions back. Theoretically I could do this on my own time as the game is F2P and has dropped most of its restrictions anyway. I’d at least be able to do solo content, and then if I needed help or wanted to delve more deeply into the end game, there would be players there who are still dedicated to the game.

My pattern with the game was strange after I took an extended break when Kunark was in its prime. I have gone back for expansions, seen chunks of content and then have left again. I took 3 whole years off and missed a bunch of stuff. A year ago I made an excursion back into Norrath and saw much of the dungeons and group content I had missed through the years, but when the (then) newest expansion sat unfinished in front of me, I had no further desire to play. There has been one expansion since then, so I am even further behind. I just find it hard to justify going back to the “good old days” of EQ2 when I have so much left to do in the current game. But damn it if I don’t really want to play some EQ2 PvP again.

If nothing else, my blog’s title should make more sense now.

#everquest2 #mmos #progressionservers #nostalgia

#E32015: Most Anticipated

Somewhere along the lines I got my dates mixed up. I was under the impression that E3 didn’t start until Tuesday or Wednesday, and it actually started on Sunday, briefly. That was Bethesda’s day to throw out information and a myriad of titles. Today, it was all about Microsoft, EA, Ubisoft and Sony. Tomorrow is Nintendo, SquareEnix and the PC gala. Tomorrow there should be some information coming out of the PC show that will interest me, but the bulk of the games I was excited to learn more about have already come and gone, so I feel like I can already make this list without hesitation. I made a list just like this last year, and despite highly anticipating those titles, there’s only a portion of them I’ve actually played to this point, there’s some that aren’t out yet, and a couple will be repeated on today’s list. We talked about a number of games we were psyched about on a recent episode of Couch Podtatoes, and now there’s more information packed into these trailers that answered a lot of my questions from the show. I’m not going to rehash that same list because not all of those games were talked about at the Expo just yet, and because these are the games that I’m extremely excited for, right now. With the introduction out of the way, here’s my most anticipated games from #E32015 (in no particular order):

Doom 4

Why I’m excited: We’ve known about Doom 4 for a bit now. The fact that the game would be revealed at E3 this year was no secret, but seeing the game in action was more than I was expecting. Not only does it seem to have steered away from the survival horror of it’s most recent (recent? It’s been ten years!) predecessor, but it picked up the pace, replicating the action sequences I knew and loved as a kid. It’s gory too, but that’s something you’d come to expect from a game famous for chainsawing demons in half and utilizing “big fucking guns.” Now I need to go back and actually finish Doom 3. Like soon.

Fallout 4

Why I’m excited: I was hesitant about Fallout 4. Fallout 3 and Borderlands were the first two games I bought for my PS3 when I picked it up back in 2009. Fallout 3 was already on it’s collectors edition, and man I loved the look of it. I loved the interactive character creation that lead you through your early life into adulthood. I loved the atmosphere. I loved blowing up the town at the beginning of the game, setting off the nuke it was built over and watching from afar, cackling to myself maniacally. I didn’t enjoy the use of the VATS system though, and that feature alone made it to where I didn’t play the game very far. I remember being frustrated that when I chose not to use that system, and went at combat in a purely FPS fashion, it felt like I was just wasting bullets. Slowing down the game to target things just didn’t feel right. Watching this trailer eased some of my worry. You’ll see the player being able to quickly and flawlessly switch between the two modes, and both seem equally effective. I can see where VATS would be useful, but I can see where I wouldn’t want to use it all of the time. However, this does make me feel like I may have been too hard on the 3rd installment, and that I might also want to give New Vegas a whirl. Perhaps I’ll get that in before the release of #4. Time will tell.

Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End

Why I’m excited: This is a carry-over entry from last year’s list, but with good reason. My love for the Uncharted series hasn’t waned whatsoever in the past year, and with the announcement that the “Nathan Drake Collection” is coming for PS4 as well, you can get all of the Uncharted goodness in one place, and all up to current-gen standards. Also, there’s actual gameplay footage this time around, and despite the fact that it’s still the same old Uncharted, it looks fucking phenomenal. The only question it didn’t answer is “how is the multiplayer?” but that’s okay, as I’m sure that information is coming. I cannot wait for this title, it’s a console seller.

No Man’s Sky

Why I’m excited: Another carry-over from last year is No Man’s Sky. I was absolutely psyched to see the extra gameplay we were able to see this time around. It’s clear that the universe that has been procedurally generated by Hello Games’ ridiculous engine is by far the most ambitious video game feat I’ve ever seen. I think Eri hit the nail on the head when she said that this engine alone is going to make the company a shitload of money. We also get to see some space battling, more planetary exploration along with how the worlds are fully destructible. I’m impressed that they managed to cram voxel technology into their game as well. This is probably my most anticipated game out of them all, and it was said that the release date will be announced “soon.” I absolutely need to get a PS4 ASAP.

Final Fantasy VII Remake

Why I’m excited: Yet another Playstation exclusive (til it’s eventually ported) that I can’t wait to see more of. This particular trailer didn’t give us anything except for a feel for the world and a taste of what Cloud and Barrett will look like. I’d really like to see what the combat and other in-game aspects will look like, but we’ll have to wait a bit to find out more. I do have to say that I will mirror Talarian’s sentiment, in that I’d prefer that the music, locations, characters and overall story stay in tact, but that they can take the old-school JRPG combat and shove it. I loved the Materia system, but the endless random battles to level up and the “mostly just holding down the Confirm button and letting your party auto-attack its way to victory” needs to go. Spice it up a little. The whole world wants this remake, let it be amazing. FFVII got me into the series as a whole, and will forever be my favorite, despite some of it’s archaic ways.

Horizon: Zero Dawn

Why I’m excited: This one came out of left field. The developers for Kill Zone have created a whole new IP. When the trailer starts, I was thinking to myself that it looked like a Turok: Dinosaur Hunter remake, but this was not the case. The backstory is interesting enough, and the gameplay was fast, beautiful, and deadly. Huge Dinosaur robots? Yeah, I need this game in my life.

Star Wars: Battlefront

Why I’m excited: We’ve known about the new Battlefront game for a while now. It’s been on the Origin Launcher for some time, but seeing it in action makes me want it that much more. I’m not super big on Battlefield, and since DICE is making this game, you know there will be some similarities. However, it’s Star Wars and there’s so much awesome packed into this trailer there’s no way a fan of the IP couldn’t be excited for this. I probably won’t buy it day one, because of the shitty launch to Battlefield 4, but I’ll definitely get it at some point.

Street Fighter V

Why I’m excited: Street Fighter V was announced a while back as well, but seeing some more of it in action is never a bad thing. They are doing some stupid shit with “console exclusive characters” but it’s not the first time something like this has happened in a fighting game, and those characters tend to become DLC for other platforms eventually. The characters they showed as being exclusive to PS4 were Birdie and Cammie, two fighters I never really cared for anyway. One way or the other, as a huge fan of the Street Fighter series, I’m definitely looking forward to this one.

Call of Duty: Black Ops III

Why I’m excited: Yeah, I’m as surprised as you are that I’m including this game in this list. But, as I’ve alluded to a couple of times prior to this, I’ve been a fan of Treyarch’s versions of Call of Duty since the first Black Ops, and this one feels like a huge jump for the series. My boycott may have officially ended, as I see multiple features that speak to me. First, in this trailer you’ll see that they finally added co-op to the campaign mode, and removed some of the on-rails aspects, allowing you to customize your kit before heading into battle. Secondly, they added in some of the features that Titanfall has, in that the acrobatics you can perform are very similar now. Third, there’s fucking Zombies mode, and that’s my shit right there. I’m actually really looking forward to this one.

Mass Effect: Andromeda

Why I’m excited: Me and Eri pondered if there would be some sort of Mass Effect announcement, but we figured that it wouldn’t have anything to do with Sheppard. From what I can gather in this trailer, which really isn’t much except for a teaser, we were correct in believing that this game is part of that universe, but will be a completely different storyline. Or maybe it’s just a big mashup of their multiplayer from ME3? We won’t know until more information is released, but for now, I think it’s safe to say a new Mass effect is on it’s way, and that’s exciting.

The Walking Dead: Michonne

TWD_Michonne_E3_key_art_650px

Why I’m excited: No trailer here, but this mini-series from Telltale has been announced. It’s a three part game, which will require at least the first episode of The Walking Dead season two, meaning it’s more expansion than full game (think 400 Days from season 1). It’s supposed to cover Michonne’s activity where she goes missing during a story arc from the comics, and since I’m no where near that far along in reading them, I don’t really know what that means exactly. However, Telltale has been good about presenting you the needed information up to that point in the game, so I don’t think it will be an issue. Either way, I love Telltale games and The Walking Dead, so I’m looking forward to this one.

#E32015 #gaming #gametrailers

State of the Game: Monster Summer Sale

sotg

I should go on record and say that this round up, despite originally being planned as a weekly update to my gaming life, isn’t necessarily going to come out each week. I’m relegating it to the same status as my State of the Tweet series, where I only put it out when it’s necessary, i.e. when I have good stuff to share to warrant a round up post. Since weeks past were taken up by the NBI and building my new computer, I didn’t have as much to write about (though that didn’t stop me from more normal posting, just didn’t feel a round up was necessary on top of those posts). This week I pre-planned what I would throw into this post, so here were are. As I said, don’t expect this each week, but it will still be fairly regular.

It’s that time of year again, yeah it’s summer. That means it’s hot outside, the sun is too damn bright, and a myriad of sales are hitting digital storefronts. GOG’s summer sale is winding down, Humble Bundle has always got something great, and of course, the Steam Monster Summer Sale is going on right now.

It never fails, when the summer sale comes along I don’t have the hundreds of dollars I would like to spend, picking up all of the games on my wishlist on the cheap. However, this is probably good for my backlog, which I can’t seem to keep from expanding. I probably finish one game for every 2-3 I pick up. Some of the games I’ve earned through bundles or found for free aren’t all that great though, so I really only count the games I actually want to complete. The deals are still pretty much the same, and the flash deals tend to be a deeper discount than the daily deals, but you never know what’s going to pop up there, and a couple of times I was pleasantly surprised. But I digress.

The promotion this year is a little different, in that there’s an actual game to play, rather than just making votes on what games go on sale. I much prefer this to last year’s event. It’s not much of a game, but it’s a fun little diversion, and you earn cards for participating. So far I’ve reached level 280 at my max, but I have seen people in the 1,500 range, so that’s not as impressive. Either way, I’ve earned the badge that comes with the event, though I haven’t bothered with trying to make the badge with the cards. I just sold those off for more funds to put towards games, as I typically do.

summersale

Again, it’s not the most amazing gaming experience, but I still feel it’s an improvement over last year’s sale. I picked up a few titles, some of which you’ll probably recognize:

I picked up Valkyria Chronicles for $4.99, down from it’s original $20 asking price. It’s actually an old PS3 game that came out quite some time ago, and I had already seen it in action as my brother-in-law had picked it up a few years back. It was only ported to the PC at the tail end of last year, and though I had toyed with picking it up before, I couldn’t pass up the $5 price, especially since I already had that on my account. I have only played through the first few missions, but I like what I have seen so far. I talked about that in more detail on the last episode of Couch Podtatoes though, so I won’t go into it further.

My Dad was in the giving spirit as well, and had told me that he was going to gift me a copy of a game that we both had on our wishlists, but when he purchased the game and tried to play it, it wouldn’t run. So he’s utilizing the new Steam refund service, and gave me the option to pick out a game that was a similar price. I decided to get two less expensive games, and ended up with Ironcast and CS:GO. I’m sure you all know what Counter-Strike is. I actually already own a copy on my PS3, but I wanted it on the PC, where updates are more likely to happen more often. Plus, me and eSports go hand in hand these days, so I figured I’d get plenty of hours into this version. I played a bit earlier and it looks better on the PC as well, in my opinion.

Ironcast is a title you might not recognize, I just happened to catch it when it released and added it to my wishlist. It’s tagged as “Puzzle Quest meets FTL” and has a victorian steampunk feel to it. If you’ve played Puzzle Quest, it will instantly look familiar to you. I loved PQ2, so this was a no-brainer. I don’t have any match-3 type games on my Steam account outside of PQ2, so I figured it was time I got for when I’m in the mood for that type of gameplay. I have yet to try it, so more on that later.

Lastly, I picked up the How To Survive Storm Warning bundle. It’s the base game + expansions. I also noticed that in a couple of weeks there’s a 3rd person mod version coming out that also might be interesting, but I didn’t buy that. I want to make sure I actually like the game before worrying about it. I pulled the trigger simply because I typically like action RPGs, survival games, and zombies. Plus, the whole package was only $.99, so how could I refuse?

Outside of the sale, I have been playing League of Legends and H1Z1 pretty regularly. I’ve been doing a bunch of streaming, recording and video editing recently (outside of the blog posts and podcasting as well) so there isn’t going to be much else for me to talk about, though I have been enjoying all of it very much. My last post contained my H1Z1 gameplay video that I slapped together, and I just finished up making this one for LoL:

I picked up Ekko about a week after his release with IP I had been saving. I also had some RP lying around and picked up a few skins, one of which you’ll see in the video when I’m playing Nautilus (and it’s an awesome skin!). There’s some normals and some ARAMs in the video, and it’s mostly just highlights of big plays, but nothing too amazing. I’m really just putting it out there for feedback on things I can do to improve my video edits. So please, leave some commentary here or on my YouTube channel. Thanks!

That’s all I have for this week. Til next time.

#stateofthegame #steamsummersale #gaming