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.
Back in February 2012, WoWInsider posted a Scattered Shots article entitled What to do in-game when there’s nothing left to do. Having felt bored with my usual World of Warcraft antics, I turned to the article in hopes of finding some idea that I had not considered. It was then that I learned of the existence of a guild on Icecrown-US comprising of nothing but Dwarf Hunters called the Warcraft Hunter’s Union. Brian Wood (a/k/a Frostheim) did a good job enticing readers to join because his description of the guild’s activities had me create my Dwarf Hunter that very same day. While my experience in the guild has been very positive, it was through the leveling of this new character that I became increasingly frustrated with the mechanics surrounding the dungeon finder.
On Monday, March 19, 2012, the nondisclosure agreement (NDA) was lifted on a Blizzard press event held the week before. The topic of the press event was the upcoming World of Warcraft expansion, Mists of Pandaria. As a result of the end of the NDA, the internet was flooded with new information regarding the expansion. Among the topics fans eagerly awaited news for was the issue of character slot limitations. Currently players are limited to 10 characters per server with a cap of 50 characters per account. With the introduction of a new race and a new class, players began seeking an increase in the number of allotted characters per server. Blizzard heard their requests and announced . . . an 11th character slot. Upon reading the news my immediate reaction was “that’s it?”