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December 12, 2015

PC gamers have been enjoying anonymous survival gaming for years. Zos often waxes on about some of his best gaming experiences being in Rust and DayZ.  If I had played a game like that, or spent extensive time watching someone play a game like that, I would have undoubtedly been most interested in the psychology of the gamers themselves.  For example, what would happen if four guys suddenly surrounded a stranger and started doing jumping jacks?  Would the stranger just stand there, or, out of fear or a great sense of humor, join in the jumping?  And, if that stranger did join in the jumping, would he continue even if the four stopped, and how long would he continue?  Why would he continue?  What if half way through, one of the four guys stopped jumping and started clapping?  What would the stranger be thinking?  Would he be sweating, would he suffer some elementary grade school flashback PTSD, or would he be ROTFLOL?  These are questions that I have.  I think that “leveling up” and “killing the bad guys” are simply the arena, the hoop, and the ball.  The sport is in how the players interact.

  1. December 12, 2015 4:05 pm

    There are some interesting discussions going on. Here and here for example.

  2. Blankman permalink*
    December 12, 2015 9:07 pm

    That was pretty hilarious when we surrounded that lone operator and started doing jumping backs around him. I bet he only agreed to copy us out of fear that we were going to kill him. Haha! When a crew of four that are obviously rolling as a team, you’ve got only two choices: run for your life or conform. I wish that we could have been in proximity voice instead of party chat just to converse with him. It’s human nature to go with the flow when you’re in a dicey situation.

  3. December 12, 2015 10:42 pm

    The time with the game was so brief there is no way to tell how it will evolve. The biggest issue in “PVP zone” is that there is no real risk/reward because:

    — So far there is no “steller loot” that you will be upset to lose.
    — loot is so frequent, that you can jump into the area and have a full inventory in <10 minutes. This kinda of kills the suspense in the game and minimalizes the decisions. More times than not, it's not worth attacking players because the "reward" is likely nothing. This could change down the road, but the intensity dies fast.

    In games like Rust/Dayz, you had to loot to survive, in order to keep going (food, water, clothes for body temp, bandages etc). So when someone was making you give your stuff, else they kill you, there was a real dilemma. Also, inventory that made you powerful, was quite rare, so once you picked it up you started sweating and immediately concealed the item else you become a "target".

    The RPG leveling elements work well in the primary game (75%+ of content). But in this kind of environment it also skews the playing field. I am sure they will make it so you are put in rooms with similar level players, but again this reduces the intensity compared to an environment where a new player equipped with a handgun could still wreck your day.

    I think that the game will likely be awesome and probably improve with updates and player feedback, but I can't help but look at the "original" game that was shown (not even talking about visuals/gameplay) and the ideas that were alluded to and feel disappointed. This is not THE game that really brings an entirely new experience to console gamers. At least not yet.

    All that aside, I had a lot of fun and I am assuming I will grab it at launch. The beta will really be where they prove themselves.

    • Herandar permalink
      December 12, 2015 10:51 pm

      Loot might not be so readily available in DZ once more players are in the game.

    • Blankman permalink*
      December 12, 2015 10:56 pm

      It won’t be a “beta,” but rather a demo like Ubisoft pulled with R6: Siege. People are assuming that early 2016 means January, but I think we’ll see a demo about two weeks before launch which puts it around mid-February. Ubisoft has tried this before, so why put it past them that they won’t do the same with The Division.

      Zos & I were texting earlier today, and we agreed that the sheer amount of promises that were cut is quite ridiculous. Promise the world, & only deliver 25% of it. It’s the typical practice of Ubisoft to capture everyone’s attention and start chipping away features until the final product is merely a shadow of itself.

  4. Herandar permalink
    December 12, 2015 10:46 pm

    Heh. I kept doing jumping jacks to everyone we met last night in the Dark Zone as a sign of non-aggression. So much so that I think Seth was considering going rogue to kill me.

  5. December 13, 2015 8:02 am

    I played DayZ after Zoso and crew. I didn’t have a powerful pc. Once I got it, you all were done playing DayZ. That said, I did have some hours (alone) in the DayZ world and enjoyed it in spite of its broken servers, and bugginess.

    I hope The Division follows this model, but after what we played in the Alpha, here are my concerns. Some of my points are based on what I read from the forums that Suns linked.

    1) The DZ game we played in the Alpha is fine and fun, but I wonder what kind of staying power it will have over time. It can very much become a rinse and repeat.

    2) My hope is that they will create a DZ game mode where it is more like Day Z. You start in the DZ with basically no / little equipment (maybe a pistol, and one health pack). As you proceed, you gain loot. If you die, you start over. If you companions are still alive, you can respawn and join them, but you start at zero again and have to make you way from the beginning to find them. Any loot you bring out of this type of game mode can transfer to your main character in PvE and (standard Alpha type) PvP. This mode could have a number of objectives, and the insert, and extraction zone could be random, and somewhere on the other side of the map.

    3) The fun of the DZ will be based on how big the DZ really is. DayZ was massive, and that was a big part of the fun factor. You could get lost there. You could just hide if you were being hunted.

    Question: For the Dz that I describe in #2, why can’t they make the entire city a DZ?

    4) Will there be public events in the DZ? Just fighting AI (farming specific AI spawns) and rogue events with other players may get stale. AI Riots or outbreaks could be a fun adder.

    5) Will there be special missions in the DZ? Like rescue a NPC or extract something specific?

    The potential for DZ has no ceiling, but it depends on what kind of vision Massive really has for this game. Even if it isn’t complete at launch, the DLC based on community feedback could be where this game ultimately finds a sweet spot.

    6) What about Faction Wars in the DZ? 20 v 20. Red v Blue type stuff with various game types. The Division vs Crime Syndicate.

    If DZ is just what we saw this week, I think we will all bore from it after some time. Fun for a while for sure, but Risk and Reward needs to be high, as does Spontenaity and unscripted (water cooler) events. Not just “get some loot” so I can level up and also get some cool new guns and gear.

  6. Blankman permalink*
    December 13, 2015 2:35 pm

    One of the main reasons why the entire map isn’t a DZ is because the PVE sections have story-related missions & side missions which progress the player to the end game. Can you imagine other teams and players constantly grieving & c-blocking your story progress? How frustrating would that be?

    The main contributing factor of why it was batshit crazy in the DZ was simply because none of our stats, equipment/gear, weapons, and currency would carry over after the servers were shut down. Also, losing DZ currency & rank didn’t really matter because of that. Therefore, players engaged in battle and went rogue with reckless abandon.

    In the actual game, going rogue will be met with higher consequences because you’ll have many people trying to eliminate those players because they’ll gain more XP, currency, and gear drops. In addition, the loss of your level/rank will mitigate player killing on sight. The gear & weapons sold by vendors in the DZ are considerably expensive and losing hard earned currency will prevent many players from simply going rogue. In addition, there will be many elite-leveled enemies (NPCs) that will be guarding rare gear & weapons and side missions in the DZ according to the devs. So players will have that to contend with as well.

    Like Zos & I have mentioned before, imagine if the game was based on survivability like DayZ & Rust. Finding food to prevent starvation, water to quench thirst, and clothing/shelter to prevent drop in body temperature were all implemented would have been the way to go. Massive missed a huge opportunity by omitting that. Take for instance, your crew watches the back of another team while they extract their DZ gear safely. They leave cans of food & water bottles as a gesture of goodwill. Or you take them out for their survival staples. How cool would that have been?

    • December 13, 2015 4:42 pm

      I agree with everything you all have written so far. The idea I made that you addressed however might be misunderstood. I’m talking about a complete unique DayZ mode. No overlap in story mode mission, just a larger DayZ mode in an expanded DZ map.

    • Blankman permalink*
      December 13, 2015 6:22 pm

      Oh no, I completely understand what you were suggesting, Jimmy. I think the main issue that I have with your suggestion for the DZ is that it makes it very easy for teams that have superior weapons to simply grieve the hell out of players that start with a pistol. That will simply lead to people camping checkpoints and safe houses for easy kills. Talk about rage inducing. Frustration should never be the key response for a game type/mode. Also, I never did care for the “Gun” game mode popularized by Counter Strike and then aped by CoD.

    • Herandar permalink
      December 13, 2015 8:48 pm

      I think the survival micro-management would only appeal to a small portion of fans, and that is why they cut it out. I spent way too much time in the Alpha comparing minute stat changes in my gear. I can already tell I’m going to have a couple separate loadouts when playing. Just hope that the stash is unlimited. But I fall into the micro-management niche.

    • Blankman permalink*
      December 13, 2015 9:35 pm

      Massive never intended to implement survival features in the game when they unveiled it at E3 2013. As for the stash goes, it is limited to thirty items, but there may be a possibility to upgrade it. You can, however, create up to four character profiles though. If it works anything like Diablo 3, each character will be able to keep a personal inventory in their backpack and share them between your other characters by placing them in the stash.

  7. December 13, 2015 11:11 pm

    Good discussion. As I alluded to in OP, I have enjoyed listening to the various stories of the hardcore DayZ experience. I would also enjoy trying it, but I wonder how many times I would like working hard and then having some little wimp wipe me out so that I have to start over naked. Can’t say I won’t like it until I try it, but I do wonder.

    What really surprised me was how many people didn’t like the DZ even as tame as it was! People whining about other people going rogue?! Man, after what I saw, I realized that it would be something I would deliberately do every so often, just to mix it up, see what people do. Every single water cooler moment for that game is because someone went rogue, or because they can (like the jumping jacks stuff). Leveling up or getting special loot will not be remembered. It will be the chases, the gunfights, the funny interactions that make the game.

    • December 14, 2015 9:47 am

      The possibilities are endless with a DZ. I think although griefing as Blank and you mention could be an issue if the entire map was a DZ (and set up like a DayZ), however, that I think is where the fun could really be. I expect the game will have this at some point down the road, because it seems set up to handle this, and I guarantee the masses are going to ask for it.

      Yes, emotions will be high, and many and loud will be the rages. That’s the point!

      They can solve the griefing / camping issue pretty easily by having multiple and random entrance and exit points / safe zones. For that matter, you could just be choppered into a location anywhere that is “empty” / random (i.e. don’t even need a safe room).

      Do you guys remember Zoso was in the party with us while he played DayZ and had broke his leg, and then crawled for an hour to a hospital. Sounds boring? right? No, he loved it. He could have just respawned and started over. Why didn’t he?

      That is what I am looking for. Just in a Division World (NYC). I don’t need zombies. I don’t need a ton of loot and leveling…. Just some suspense / risk / reward.

      Now I say all that to say, that I’m cool with what The Division is already offering. I like their format, and we’ll have fun playing it. However, what I REALLY want is the option to play the game in survival mode.

  8. December 14, 2015 3:10 pm

    OT: If you don’t already own the LOTR Extended Trilogy on BluRay:

    Absolutely cheapest I have ever seen it.

    • Herandar permalink
      December 14, 2015 3:43 pm

      Pretty sure I saw it at WalMart recently for a very similar price. No, wait, it was the Hobbit films, which I still haven’t seen.

    • December 14, 2015 4:10 pm

      I would wait for a “fan edit” of all three Hobbit films into a single cohesive entity. I passionately love LOTR… i could barely finish the last film of The Hobbit trilogy. This collection is a 15-disc bluray set with all extended versions + special features.

    • Blankman permalink*
      December 14, 2015 7:30 pm

      Yeah, The Hobbit trilogy was harsh and this is coming from an LoTR homer. I got that exact same set last December for $30 from Amazon. That is a great price at $28!

  9. December 14, 2015 5:23 pm

    You should be receiving a survey. Be sure to tell them in detail what your problems are with the game (and what you liked about it).

  10. December 14, 2015 6:00 pm

    I left this feedback to one of the last questions of the extended questionnaire.

    “Make a RUST/DAYZ hardcore survival mode. The world is built, now give us the option to play survival, clothing, hypothermia, weaponless, hardcore survival. PLEASE! Promise that and I will pre-order. All the hardwork is done. Just give us the gametype.”

    • Blankman permalink*
      December 14, 2015 7:36 pm

      I filled out the initial survey & the two following in-depth ones. I was critical about the character movement (slide into cover & sliding over vehicle hoods being absent). Since it is reliant on cover-based gunplay, I suggested that they look at the Gears franchise. Separating the cover & mantle onto two controller buttons is non-intuitive. In addition, I also suggested the implementation of survival mode. I highly doubt that they will integrate that mode. Right now, the clothing is simply for aesthetics. The water, canned food, and other consumables are merely for acquiring crafting parts & clothing from NPCs. Talk about a huge missed opportunity.

    • December 15, 2015 1:10 am

      LOL Same kind of feedback I gave. My main complaint being cover and animations.
      Agreed that it is a missed opportunity and that they probably won’t do it, but it isn’t because it is difficult. Clothing etc. could very easily be tied into player health (though incremental damage to clothing etc. would be challenging. On or off, providing a boost to health or not, and more or less depending on the item, should literally be just a couple of lines of code. I would pay an additional 10 bucks or something for that extra work, for that mode (not even a mod).

      Well, we shall see what happens. Last year at this time, after feedback, I assumed that Turtle Rock would allow us to choose Moster/Hunter, and the asshats didn’t even figure the importance of that one out until there was literally no one left playing the game 9 months later. We literally told Epic not just what was broken but how to fix their game and it wasn’t until Gears 3 that they tried some of our solutions. Game designers are not lazy they are just utterly unable to see the forest from the trees, or entirely without the stones to make the hard decisions. (Melee stun in Gears:UE – shakes head) It must be an inherent occupational hazard.

  11. December 15, 2015 11:27 am

    Suns have you ever watched Frankie on PC? He plays a number of games and is really good (and funny). DayZ is one of his favorites. Started with the mod, but these new videos are with the stand alone.

    I’m getting Seth an upgraded pc pretty soon. I may be playing this.

    I don’t need this level of detail (ie items, loot, crafting) for The Division, but imagine what it could become. Also, what if they made Zombie / DayZ mode in The Division.

  12. December 16, 2015 2:26 am

    I don’t think it compares to Rust and Day Z. Zozo nailed it in the head. You don’t fear to lose your loot.

    I don’t think that will change because that’s a turn off in the console world.

    In PC is different because many times you have extended alphas and betas and you can get confortable to lose stuff because you can gain it back.

    Consoles you feel entitled to “win” because of the $60 entry fee.

    In any case I don’t think the game is there yet, it took too long to develop something that feels unfocused and unfinished by a long run even for a alpha.

    It really feels like the game needs another semester or even a year.

    The main thing for me is fun and how unfinished the cover system, movement and shooting is.

    I think they tried to do too much on a new IP.

    This was the path set for Assassin’s Creed after Unity. Basically light RPG with more progression, leveling and loot.

    Had they done this with AC I would be buying it in a heartbeat because the core mechanics are done and proven.

    However as it is they are going to spend easily the first few months on bugs alone, and then scrambling for new content to keep the install base going.

    The polish needed to be there now to ensure a nice stream of content, and Polish was the last thing this game will be doing any time soon.

    Early adopters will get shafted. It will be a much better game when it goes down in price.

    and I doubt there will be a big gap in levels and loot otherwise the risk repopulating.

    DZ didn’t seem that great it’s basically GTA but losing loot instead of cash.

    Except GTA now has public events and the just added more DLC to the freeroam, and the map is huge, not to mention more fun.

    It’s very niche and for a social mmo-ish game, it needs to be better. Which is why it doesn’t surprise me they stuck to small teams and not big numbers in DZ unlike GTA.

  13. Blankman permalink*
    December 17, 2015 3:56 pm

    “Silent Night” live-action trailer reaffirming that content will be coming to the XB1 first. It will probably be the usual 30-day window that MS had with Call of Duty. Silent Night is the name of the fictitious virus affecting NYC in The Division.

    BTW: “We will be opening the servers to all our Alpha testers this Friday, at 3 PM CET, 9 AM EDT, 6 AM PDT for a duration of 3 hours minimum (and maybe longer depending on the results we will be getting). [The Alpha testers] are all welcome to join and enjoy these extra hours of gameplay. If you know any other Alpha testers, make sure to let them know as we will need as many of you as possible.

    The game version will be exactly the same as last week. Also note that since this test is still in the context of the Alpha, the NDA remains in place.”- Massive Entertainment

    • December 17, 2015 5:38 pm

      Very cool!

      But I will call bullshit on the sliding across the roof of the car (live) action. Who didn’t get the memo? That’s not in the game anymore, goofballs.

      Anyway, will have to redownload! I made room for Ark, thinking the next time I would go to New York would be in late February in a different build. LOL

      A problem of riches!

      EDIT: By the way, those little “exclusives” and “extras” are hugely important. It is terribly discouraging knowing that you are paying for the same game but only getting the left-overs, sloppy seconds, cold cuts, while the others are in first class getting served their food while it is piping hot, on fine China with silverware.

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