Weekend Confirmed Episode 42

By Garnett Lee, Jan 07, 2011 12:00pm PST Everyone is excited to get back in the studio for this first show of 2011. Though new releases cooled over the holidays, Garnett, Brian, and Jeff have plenty of stories for Whatcha Been Playin? Catch up time includes classics like Uncharted 2 and more recent titles such as Vanquish and Bad Company 2 "Vietnam". Jeff got in some time with a new game too; he has mixed feelings about Lost in Shadow, though. Your responses to how much a review score determines whether a game is worth playing get the conversation started in the Warning. There's even a little homework for next week too on a couple of subjects we'd like to get your thoughts on. And in the news, we've got a look at the video game stories coming out of CES from Microsoft's press conference to handheld gaming PC concept by Razer, indie games nominated for IGF awards, and more.

Weekend Confirmed Ep. 42 - 01/07/2011

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Weekend Confirmed comes in four segments to make it easy to listen to in segments or all at once. Here's the timing for this week's episode:

Whatcha' Been Playin?: Start: 00:00:00 End: 00:28:56

Whatcha' Been Playin? and Cannata-ford: 00:30:00 End: 01:03:52

The Warning: 01:04:40 End: 01:37:52

Featured Music "Baba Yetu" by Christopher Tin: 01:37:52 End: 01:41:22

The Front Page: Start: 01:41:22 End: 02:08:20

Tailgate Playoffs Wild Card Special: Start: 02:09:21 End: 02:19:07

The Featured Music segment presents the Grammy nominated track "Baba Yetu" by Christopher Tin. This theme song for Civilization IV has become something of a hit in the video game community. After the game came out in 2005, Tin re-recorded the song as the first track of his debut album Calling All Dawns, which came out last year. This new recording is recorded by the Soweto Gospel Choir and Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. Tin went to London's famous Abbey Road Studios to record the orchestra, and then down to Johannesburg, South Africa to record the choir; and, it was mixed at Eargasm Studios. It has won awards in the John Lennon Songwriting Competition, International Songwriting Competition, USA Songwriting Competition, and now it's gunning for the biggest award of all... the Grammy.

Billboard picked "Baba Yetu" as one of their nominations to watch. It's up for Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocalists and Tin's Calling All Dawns is up for Best Classical Crossover Album.

Original music in the show by Del Rio. Get his latest single, Small Town Hero on iTunes. Check out more, including the Super Mega Worm mix and other mash-ups on his ReverbNation page or Facebook page.

Jeff can also be seen on The Totally Rad Show. They've gone daily so there's a new segment to watch every day of the week!

Our Official Facebook Weekend Confirmed Page is coming along now so add us to your Facebook routine. We'll be keeping you up with the latest on the show there as well.

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  • On the matter of pay to play MMOs: it's been said often enough, but MMO development is the casino of video games, with the house being Blizzard. You've got to do something different enough from WoW if you want to succeed, because the success of WoW (and other Blizzard games) isn't built only the quality of the game, but also the size and quality of the community around it. You need to be successful first to build such a community, which is why competing with WoW on its own ground is nigh impossible.
    I think an interesting question to ask is how a game starting out as P2P affects its success when it goes F2P. P2P games have an aura of higher quality than F2P games, so when they make the transition it helps them stand out from the crowd - these are games that got coverage on major gaming sites, after all, unlike most F2P MMOs. Moreover, you cannot disregard the pressures monetization exerts on the design of F2P games; P2P games have the advantage of perceived fairness in gameplay design, which they (generally) cultivate when going F2P.

    On the subject of the necessity of matchmaking:
    I agree with Brian that on a console (and increasingly on PC) matchmaking is necessary. Matchmaking is the lowest common denominator - the newbie with no friends who wants to play the game and enjoy it, not feel like he's entered a hostile environment where he has no chance of success. It is in the interest of the developers that as many new players join and enjoy the game; a lobby system is too random a way to guarantee a good experience. In the very stat driven game design of today, where developers collect all kinds of statistics, it only makes sense to extend that into improving the chances of new players having fun.
    Of course, the problem with matchmaking is that its ultimate purpose is to bring you to a 50/50 win/loss ratio, which people are rarely happy with. At that point, it is the quality of the community, the sort of the people that you meet ingame, which will determine how much you enjoy the game. Unfortunately, matchmaking tends to attract less understanding people than servers; the ability to blame the matchmaking algorithm actively encourages people to blame others for their loss.
    So you're screwed either way; the choice is between an insular server-based community or a matchmaking community full of jerks. Matchmaking will win in the end, but it'll only happen when the internet finds a way to stop people for being jerks.