I’m writing this on November 18, 2014. I’ve just come home from work and I was excited to begin recording a new let’s play series for Clever Musings’ pertinent YouTube channel. I intended on playing a title just released today, Ubisoft’s Far Cry 4. But instead of recording a video, I’m writing a rant. Why? Because of Ubisoft’s amazing failure in its Digital Rights Management (DRM) software known as Uplay. While I was able to download and install the game prior to its release, Uplay won’t let me launch the game because “This game has not been released yet. It will be available to play on Uplay any time after the release date.” And while I’m sitting here, frustrated that I can’t play a game that I’ve obtained through legitimate means, I can’t help but think about the pirates that have been playing the game for days prior to its release.
Yesterday, Blizzard announced Overwatch. Not even 6 hours later, Jonathan McIntosh, writer/producer for Feminist Frequency, started saying that the game is sexist due to its portrayal of women. Which isn’t at all surprising; if anything, I’m shocked it took 6 hours. I would have expected there to be cries of sexism mere seconds after the trailer started playing on stage. Anyway, onto the tweets (and my accompanying rant about said tweets) after the cut.
I’d like to discuss how not to promote a new video game by taking a look at what Overkill Software, a subsidiary of Starbreeze Studios, did with their newly announced game, OVERKILL’s The Walking Dead. Let’s begin with a bit of context for the uninitiated. Overkill Software is known for its Payday franchise which consists of Payday: The Heist, released in 2011, and Payday 2, released in 2013. The Payday series consists of four player co-op missions conducted in first person wherein players attempt to commit various heists by sneaking or shooting their way through security, lockboxes, and vaults. I came to enjoy Payday 2 quite a bit as of the most recent Steam sale.
Healing is something that comes naturally to me. I like healing in World of Warcraft. I like playing as a Holy Priest. Being responsible for the virtual lives of other characters doesn’t bother me. I leveled as a healer. I didn’t level as Shadow until 81-85, when Cataclysm came out; for Mists of Pandaria, I went back to Holy because quest rewards were based on specialization, and I needed to have Spirit on my gear, not Hit Rating.
It always makes me uneasy when I’m playing as a non-healer. I always feel like the healer who is taking up the mantle is going to do something wrong. Seeing health bars that aren’t full actually makes me panic. I’ll be yelling at my monitor, “come on, heal the tank, they’re going to die.” The tank rarely does, of course. You’d think I’d have learned to trust other healers by now.
The weird thing is, I don’t like healing in LFR. I didn’t know why until this weekend. It was something a death knight said when we were in the Halls of Flesh Shaping. What they said was so idiotic it was actually infuriating. I wanted to turn on caps lock and just chew this person out.
Uber Entertainment recently rolled out a new Pro character, Artemis, for Super Monday Night Combat. She’s a mutated woman from the Outland who uses an energy-based bow and radioactive-themed debuffs. She’s a sharpshooter with a kit that makes her great for focus-firing with her teammates.
I don’t like it.
I’m not opposed to Uber adding more sharpshooters, per se. Before Artemis, the only sharpshooters were the Gunslinger and the Sniper; sharpshooters were the last role to have only two playable characters. Enforcers have Cheston, the Veteran, the Gunner, and the tank. Strikers have Megabeth, Karl, and the Assault. Defenders have Leo, Combat Girl, and the Support. Commandos have Wascot, Captain Spark, and the Assassin. More variety and parity is a good thing.
So what’s not to like about a new Pro? Much, actually.
Let us start with the basics. DRM stands for Digital Rights Management. When applied to the context of PC video games, DRM is the method a publisher uses to verify that the game was purchased through a legitimate source and not pirated. Back in the early days of games, there was no DRM. I still have a few MS DOS games in a box somewhere that employ no method of verifying the game was actually purchased and not just illegally copied. As time went on, CD keys became the industry standard for DRM. Every game would come with a long string of numbers and letters that had to be entered before installing the game. Eventually, with the increasing popularity of the internet, those numbers were checked with an online server and if the same number was used too much, it was no longer valid.
But times are changing.