Posts tagged ‘trolling’

November 10, 2011

First Impressions of Modern Warfare 3

Note:  This is nowhere near a complete review, nor is it my final thoughts about the game.  It’s just a good ole fashioned, knee jerk rambling, born from playing the game for just a couple of days.

Context is everything.  This game, like it or not, doesn’t exist within a vacuum.  And because of that, comparisons are inevitable.  With that said, I’m judging Modern Warfare 3 from the perspective of someone who up until Tuesday had been playing tons of Battlefield 3 online.  As a reference, let me tell you a story.  DorisfromNoris and I logged on the other night and formed our own little squad.  We were playing conquest, and as I jumped into a jeep, a stranger jumped onto the 50cal behind me.  We drove from checkpoint to checkpoint, blasting people away and rising up as the best squad on our team.  When our vehicle was destroyed, Doris met up with us and we three proceeded on foot to continue dominating the game.  We were the Navy SEALs of the game so to speak.  And we didn’t know this other guy at all.  But over the course of a number of matches, the teamwork put in by all three of us not only allowed us to win some major games, but to also become a friend to this new guy.  It was not only a memorable evening, but probably the most fun I’ve had since COD4 came out, in terms of online FPS.

Maybe you had to be there.  Regardless, it was a great time.  Now, fast forward to Tuesday.  I pick up MW3 on my lunch break and go home to play a couple of games.  The first game I get into, the match is already underway.  There is an enemy Huey just decimating my team, so I pop a Javelin rocket at it and bring it down.  Yay teamwork!  Everyone was stoked, and we all agreed to get beers if we were ever in the area again.  Or wait, that doesn’t seem right.  No, they said, and I quote, “Goddamn Mortar, wait until the chopper’s leaving before you shoot it?  Fucking n00bs on our team, what a bitch.”  I’m torn between three options.  Asking why he didn’t shoot it down, trolling him hard just to start an argument, or muting the dude.  I went with the third option; it had been a bad day and I didn’t feel like arguing with some meth addled hillbilly about strategy and the merits of who’s actually a bigger prick.

Though in fairness, he made an astute point.

And that’s when I realized it.  For whatever reason, these two war games gave me totally different reactions.  And Modern Warfare’s reaction wasn’t positive.  It got me mad.  It got my blood boiling.  I’d mute the guys but then immediately spawn on a live grenade.  I’d be in the middle of reloading when my sprinting would cancel the action.  Not to mention the clusterfuck that happens when the game thinks 3 people should spawn on top of each other, causing the game to sputter and rubberband like a Japanese kid watching that Porygon episode.  When Doris got on, we couldn’t party chat thanks to the ingenuity of the PS3, and thus we were stuck in lobbies of people blasting music into their mics, people going so racist it’d make a Klansman blush, and kids screaming for no discernible reason.  I hated to admit it, but from the FPS wars I’d seen in threads, it seemed the BF3 fanboys may have had a point.  And all that time, I’d been on the wrong side of history.

But maybe its not the  games themselves, maybe its the players.  I had to judge the game itself and not its audience.  I love Nirvana, and that love didn’t go away when the goth kids appropriated grunge.  Just because they thought Kurt Cobain would have made a great Slipknot frontman didn’t make Lithium any worse.  It just made them stupid.

Smells like team spirit, amirite?

So I hopped offline and decided to take a stab at single player.  And this is when my frustration subsided.  Because say what you want about Call of Duty, they can still make one hell of a campaign, and this is no exception.  Its so intense and crazy, you’d be inclined to watch First Blood only when you need to fall asleep.  I won’t spoil anything, but there is a certain Inception-like fight scene that totally blew my mind (and eerily resembled a Perfect Dark 64 level, if any of you out there are keeping track).  And here’s where I noticed something else.  Whereas Battlefield is clearly made for PCs, and the graphics dumbed down for their console brethren, MW3 is fully rendered on my PS3.  60 frames per second does wonders for the fast paced action, and the guns are beautifully rendered, complete with Remington or Colt etched into their sides to give that added touch of realism.  And the cities are just great looking.  Ah yes, I was loving this game, and I could finally breath a sigh of relief.  Nothing worse than hating the first 10 minutes of a game you just bought.  That’s certain to bring you down.

See, I loved Black Ops; loved it with a passion.  I didn’t really play games for a year or two there, and so when I got Blops I got into it with a vengeance.  And I played the multiplayer nonstop.  So I was worried.  Just what was it about Modern Warfare 3 that was getting me pissed off?  If all the complaints were that MW3 was just more of the same, that wouldn’t mean I’d be getting this mad at it, especially since I loved the same this was supposedly more of.  And I realized a couple of things.  First, I didn’t get Blops when it first came out, I got it in late December.  By that time the Ritalin munching kids had grown tired of it (to an extent) and so there were more serious players online.  Secondly, coming from BF3 with all its teamwork and mostly polite-player goodness, I was drowning in a sea of teenage angst, the likes of which I hadn’t seen since I was in high school.  And lastly, I was playing the matches that drew in the most weirdos of all, Team Deathmatch.  I decided it was time to hop on over to something a little more serious, and haven’t left Search and Destroy since.  It has made a huge difference.

So what do I think overall?  I really don’t know.  Its still far too early to make a definitive judgment, let alone try and decide which game I like better for FPS of the year.  I will say this, it does have it’s problems, and it isn’t a whole lot different from its predecessors.  The graphics have been improved, and I think it looks better than BF3, at least on the console.  The survivor mode is simply a ton of fun, though I do miss my Nazi zombies.  Last night I got into a group of about 7 of my friends and we all played together, something that just doesn’t happen on BF3 (because more of my friends have MW3, by far).  The campaign is sick, maybe the best campaign of a single player FPS I’ve ever played, and the multiplayer can be very, very addictive, especially if you mute the morans and have some friends to play with.  The maps are small and cramped, certainly in contrast to what I’ve been used to for the past few weeks, and you will die a lot quicker, especially if you have “skills” like me.  Though I wanted to get on here the first day I got the game and trash it like everyone else has done on Metacritic, I had to remind myself that this is a franchise I’ve loved for years, and have had some great times in.  Maybe all the hate had subliminally influenced me and my opinion.  I had to go back and remember what made Black Ops so special, and try to reclaim that passion in this newest installment.  And so far, I have.   The screaming kids didn’t create the game, and they certainly don’t have to define my opinion of it.  So with tons typed and nothing really said, I’ll leave it with a big “we’ll see…”  Not a satisfying answer, but I want to make sure my review, and ultimately my MW3/BF3 comparison, are well thought out and not based upon pure emotion.  So I’ll leave you with this:

Robber attempts to take MW3 at gunpoint

Man threatens to blow up Best Buy over MW3

Criminals tear gas truck, steal 6,000 copies of MW3

September 22, 2011

Alien Adoption Agency: The Rise and Fall

It was 1998 and I was eating my square pizza in the middle school cafeteria.  A friend of mine, whose name I have honestly completely forgotten at this point, told me about a new game online.  It was a text based game, one found online and free to try.  It sounded good to me, and when I got home that evening I hopped on AIM to discuss it with my friends as we went to it.  The game was Alien Adoption Agency, known as AAA and later A3.  A RPG of sorts, you were able to customize your jpg character, travel through mazes one click at a time, and earn different types of currency.  It had a pretty dedicated fan base at the time, and we were able to battle each other and anyone else.  Think Mafia Wars, but back when this type of game was actually innovative and not some spam riddled crap.  There were few boundaries, few rules, and the potential for abuse was ripe.  Yes, AAA had it all.

No wonder I got my ass kicked so much in middle school

It was a veritable wild west of sorts, and as I entered the game, so did that recondite cousin of mine.  I started the game off typically, grinding away to gain XP and level up.  He started it off a bit less typically, being gifted a large sum of money by some stranger from the get go.  His name was Uncle Pennybags, mine was Lou Derek.  We were badasses of the highest sort.  We got a few more friends to join in and it became addicting, we would play it while spending the night at each other’s houses and we would discuss it the next day while eating our square pizzas.  But while my other friends kept grinding away, Miles and I had a different plan.  We had devised a scheme.

There were three big types of currency in the game, because as everyone knows, its not a good game unless it is ungodly confusing.  There were marks, which you could find in the mazes, tokens, which you used in the casino, and credits, which I guess were just normal currency.  The marks were highly valuable, and varied depending upon in game stock prices.  The tokens were basically undervalued credits and were worthless.  Trading in the marks was big business, and something we just simply weren’t rich enough to get involved with.  But we discovered that you could trade any currency for any other currency, and the amount of trading taking place could get confusing.  This was to be used to our advantage.

The nefariousness of our plot was hampered somewhat by the 'graphics'

The plan was simple.  Propose a trade with someone rich who was wanting marks.  If they agreed, make the trade, but give them credits instead of marks.  If they skimmed the offer, they would accept a terrible trade and we’d get an irrevocable windfall.  We went fishing with these bad deals day after day, until finally, we both were able to make a big score.  I remember my trade being accepted for something like 3 million credits, which was huge.  He expected a ton of marks but instead got a handful of credits, taking a huge hit.  My lucky victim was of course the leader of one of the bigger guilds in the game, and at once I was blacklisted and constantly attacked, but God was it worth it.  It was ok for a while, because I was in a guild too, but when I attempted to pull the scam on our leader, I was kicked out.

We had been playing for a while at the point when AAA attempted to make a tiered payment system, with pay-for-play players getting extra rewards and in game items.  It was possible to get some of those extra perks without paying by doing surveys and other virus-riddled activities, but eventually the game would succumb to a common folly, charging for something not worth paying for.  In the interim, however, we frequented the chat rooms of the game, discussing in game topics and giving helpful hints as to how to improve the game for everyone, cursing and trolling people constantly.  One day was unusual, however, as the creator of the game, Webby himself, made an appearance.  Miles was there with me, and with one stroke, he uttered words I would never forget.

Immortal words indeed

I was stunned.  I was for sure that we’d be deleted.  I was honestly nervous, as only a 13 year old misanthrope could be.  But nothing came of it.  Down the road my cousin’s account would be hacked, threatened with hardware destruction if he didn’t hand over his username and password.  He complied, and as a gesture I deleted my account as well.  Years later I attempted to make another account, but the game had changed too much, and the payment system was now a strict must to play.  Free until level 5.  I quickly gave up.  Looking back though, the game reminds me of a different time, where we were allowed to self destruct a game from the inside, at least in our minds.  We avoided the gameplay by getting cash from other players, and when we couldn’t do it legitimately, we would steal it.  We griefed other players constantly and at one point insulted the creator of the game to his face.  Maybe it seems tame now with all the meth and meth-related activities of adulthood, but for a time a game that allowed too much freedom was discovered by kids who just want wanted nothing but to screw with people.  And we got our money’s worth out of that free game.

I attempted to revisit the site and its just not as fun these days.  The new layout may be to blame:

The graphics have been greatly toned down, even for a text based game