Tag Archives: Microtransactions

#469 The B.M.O.C Christmas Story

I have noticed that the past month or two I have been more or less writing almost exclusively about Nintendo and their products. You guys can all blame it on the fact that one game company started bringing out amazing games since the middle of October with Mario Kart 8’s DLC and ending up with the suprube Super Smash Bros.

But because of my little Nintendo kick it has resulted in me neglecting the rest of the videogame world, from PC game news to the other consoles, and basically everything else. Well that ends today.

It is the middle of December, I am full of Christmas spirit, and I want to tell you guys one of my favorite Team Fortress 2 seasonal story that I have been meaning to share for a while.

 

Oh yes, this hat.

Oh yes, this hat.

 

Flash back to 2011, my steam account was about nine months old, TF2 was experiencing its third month after going free to play, and this very blog just celebrated it’s first month or two going live. Between all of that, Steam’s now-famous winter sales had just started and my younger brother was freaking out.

Back then my brother was a TF2 hard core hat trader, collecting and trading up those cosmetic items was his bread and butter for his main source of games and I believe it was his first time experiencing the joy of the fabled winter steam sales. In contrast was not fully-in to the idea of steam service that the time, blame it on my being young and naive, having only a few game bought through the service, I was instead to focus on Blizzard’s World of Warcraft and blogging about those adventures.

Out of all the goodies that Steam offered during the 2011 Winter Sales, one thing that caught my brother’s stock broker eye was the quite rare TF2 Santa Hat called, B.M.O.C. A Santa hat that you could only obtain by crafting away seven pieces of digital coal you received throughout the weeks of sale, for either the hat or coupons for other games from their Great Gift Pile.

Steam-Winter-Holiday-Sale-Has-Big-Discounts-New-Contests-Huge-Prizes-2

During the 2011 Winter Steam Sales my brother was glued to his computer trying to maximize his coal collecting for everyday, crafting the seven packs every chance he got. While on the other hand tried collecting it a few times, voluntary crafting it once, received a coupon for a game, and decided I was done with the promotion.

As the promotional sales ended, my brother was getting desperate to get that elusive Santa hat getting to the point where he was harassing me to download TF2, a game I had no interest at the time, and complete the easiest objectives to complete the seven coal pack to craft away for one more chance to get one hat. It must have been a Christmas miracle, because that second batch of crafted coal rewarded me the extremely rare, B.M.O.C hat. It goes without saying that my brother was ecstatic, he was finally so close to capturing that digital White Whale.

Once we realized what I had, I did what any big brother would do in that situation, I refused to trade it to him, constantly holding the one thing he could not get over his head. My younger brother kept pestering me for a trade over the years until he got a proper job and dropped his aggressive hat trading hobby.

To this day I still have the Holiday hat in my inventory, refusing to trade it to anyone, not to online traders or my own family members, because in the marketplace the is the rule it is the seller that places a value of an object, and after the story I told you guys and the adventures I had to get this one TF2 hat, it had made the the B.M.O.C priceless to me. Because of that I have sworn to never trade it away, not to my brother who wanted it back then nor to my other younger brother who has just now picked up the Steam trading hobby for his source of games and entertainment.


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#445 The Bittersweet Birthday Gift

As I mentioned about three weeks ago, the beginning of the month was also my birthday, and today I want to talk about a gifts one of my brother gave me. As I mentioned before at the start of the month I was gifted a pre-order ticket of The Binding of Isaac Rebirth, one of my most anticipated sequel/remake of one of my favorite and most played Steam game on Steam.

steam boi re

It is not just me who loves the game,The Binding of Isaac is full of family fun, because I, and two of my brothers religiously play the game. Because of that my brothers and I have had many conversations about our own personal adventures through the game with the odd combination of items the RNG loot room gave us and getting hyped about what could possibly be added to the next installment.
Bless my brother’s heart, he knew I was going to get The Binding of Isaac the moment the game went live, and I know what he did was with good intention, but no good deed goes unpunished. because in giving me one of the games I have on my wish list he has ended up preordered a game.

I wrote about my policy with pre-ordering games here in Be MOP #272, but just as a one paragraph recap:
Preorders are one of the few things I do not like with the videogame world, I have wrote before but I see no reason to preorder a game anymore, because if it is a major game it has enough marketing and research behind it to ensure that every major videogame outlet has more than enough physical copies of the game at launch. The idea of pre-ordering something through a digital service, like Steam XBL/PSN, and the such is even more pointless because those services have an unlimited amount of resources to hand out the day of launch and for all the days after that. Now Pre Ordering has changed from making sure that the consumer has the desired limited supply product to a tool for the gaming companies to add the most amount of profit of a game before it is even released, which all adds to the mess of things within the AAA gaming economy.

I swear this is world's best technique for persuade steam users to preorder any game

I swear this is world’s best technique for persuade steam users to preorder any game

Because of my policy, and seeing how bad preording can get with some game companies, I have sworn off of pre ordering any games from any gaming device, no matter how much I like the game or how excited I am for it’s release. The kicker is my brother knows of stance because I have spent multiple times ranting and debating him about the issue of preorders, using the Binding of Isaac, a game that I am currently has a countdown timer on my phone, as example on how determined I am to stick to my principles about not preordering a game.

So imagine the bittersweet moment I felt when I received the notification when my brother, the same brother that I have had extensive conversations with about policies and politics in videogames, went ahead and made a preorder purchase of my favorite game for me, thus encouraging the growth and the practice of preordering in the industry. I still love him and I still can not get too mad, because of him I am now qualified to unlock the special Binding of Isaac hat in Team Fortress 2

Hey I said I was against preorder bonuses for TF2, I did not say I wanted them

Hey I said I was against preorder and preordering bonuses, I did not say I did not want them


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#412 Games from my Backlog Reflection

As I realized in my last blog post, my monthly “games from my backlog’ project quietly and unexpectedly reached it’s one year anniversary.

This entire project was something that was born after realizing how many games that I had in my library just collecting dust after I canceled my World of Warcraft subscription and just realizing my slight addiction to Team fortress 2 and various other time sinks(as talked about in Be MOP #360)  and this was a way to knock out some game titles that I have been meaning to play or that i gathered along the way by dedicating a each month a few games to play for my limited free game play time.

A series you can catch up with by reading all installments right now: Be MOP #258, #268, #281, #294, #307, #320, #334, #346, #359, #372, #385, #398, and #411.

Between that start of this little project I have removed about 30 games from my backlog, on top of a whole bunch of other games I played on the side.

Look how organized everything is, that habit does not reflex my organization of physical collections

Look how organized everything is, that habit does not reflex my organization of physical collections

 

Since, setting this up and forcing myself to games I might never have picked up by myself, I have found some favorite new titles and genres , They Bleed Pixels, Cloudberry Kingdom (and opening the floodgates to any pixel perfect and indie platformer), the Walking Dead series, Deadpool and Dust: an Elysian Tail. Basically any other game that I have dedicated a full blog post to or mentioned in future posts during or after the initial month.

Some of the games I picked were non-starters for me, like  Serious Sam 3 (motion sickness Be MOP #352) Borderlands 2 (lack of players on hand to play the game with co-op), & Gotham City Impostors, Final Fantasy VII, and the first Assassin’s Creed (lack of drive to boot up or play through the game).

Contrary to popular belief – or what this project’s mission might have been at the beginning-  its not about completing or even beating theses games it was about working through the mammoth amount of games I have trying out new games, dusting off some that I bought ages ago and just now playing, and trying new types of games after years of playing just one or two games exclusively from Highschool through College.

I am going to continue this project for the future because it is fun and pushing through and playing games I would never have thought to pick up I believe I am a better well rounded gamer because of it .

and studying for my blogging and streaming patterns it looks like I can not stop partaking in projects that has no dedicated end mark

and studying for my blogging and streaming patterns it looks like I can not stop partaking in projects that has no dedicated end mark

 


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#393 Summer Fun, Sales, and Games

It is finally here! The Steam Summer Sales just went live, it’s a magical time when almost everything on Steam’s digital shelves are on sale for all the good little boys and girls around the web. This is a great time to be online, not only is it a time to pick up games at insane prices and start collecting digital trading cards in order to craft badges to gain points for your camp team but also get your chance to grab some in-game cosmetic items. On top of all of that this is a big time because, for me, it actually buy some games.

I am from a big family and that tends to result in some penny-pinching techniques like, always use coupons, entering ever contest you come across, always eat your leftovers first, and never buy anything at full price when you know that it will eventually go on sale.

About time too because I needed some new games to play too, after sorting through my library of games I played from the games from my backlog and games I have played before I started that project I realized that I just have the games

About time too because I needed some new games to play too, after sorting through my library of games I played from the games from my backlog and games I have played before I started that project I realized that I just have the games

 

With all these sales this is my time to shine, to cut loose and buy games while not breaking the bank. And more importantly than having a small week-long window to buy all the games that are currently taking up residence on my wish list but now is the time when I take a chance on games that I might have never heard of before their were showcased on either the Daily Deals or on the Flash Sales sections of Steam’s front page. It was because of Steam’s incredibly low prices was the reason picked up Dust: An Elysian Tail and the punishing pixel perfect games Super Meat Boy, Binding of Isaac, They Bleed Pixels and Cloudberry Kingdom. These are some of my favorite games of all time that I would never even thought of buying at full price. I even installed and briefly started playing TF2 because of the holiday sale promotional items back in 2011.

It was just to try to get an easy TF2 achievement and I ended up grabbing one of the rarest hats from the event.

It was just to try to get an easy TF2 achievement and I ended up grabbing one of the rarest hats from the event.

 

Now I can take time to actually browse the shops and add stuff to my cart, knowing that these are going to be the lowest prices for this year. And it has already begun, last night I have already added Tiny Brains and Rush Bros.

 

Before anyone says, "dont buy until the daily deal/flash sales" both games were 80% and 90% off. I'll eat may hat if it goes any lower throughout the week

Before anyone says, “don’t buy until the daily deal/flash sales” both games were 80% and 90% off. I’ll eat my hat if either of these games goes any lower throughout the week

 

I already have a few games I want to pick throughout this week but I want to bounce a question back to you for the weekend and the following week, “What games are on your wish list that you hope to pick up during the Steam Sales and do you have any games to recommend now that I am in the mode to buy games?”

PS: Go Team Red!

 


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#381 Applauding Poker Night’s Policy on Unlockables

This past week I have been playing my fair share of Poker Night 2 for the sake of getting through my backlog for the month of May (Be MOP #372). I have played and completed the first Poker Night at the Inventory and I bought the second Poker Night a long while ago and I played a bit of it but I did not get through everything, which is why I am returning to the series for this month. Since I returned to Poker Night 2 and comparing it the other games the entire Poker Night series is amazing if you think about it.

I was talking to my friend about this the other night, and we had a little bit of an argument about whether or not TellTale’s games fell under the indie category like he believes  because they publish their own games or , as I argue, because of how big they are, TellTale has transcended to ‘small gaming company’ status. No matter how you slice it was amazing that even with their first Poker Night game they were able to recruit the star power for the various NPCs you played poker with. The first game had  Max, from Sam and Max, Gabe of Penny Arcade, TF2’s Heavy Weapons guy, and Strong Bad. And they were able to get more recognizable and higher profile characters for the sequel.

 I am sure that TellTale had the voice actors of Sam, MAX, and Strong Bad on speed dial from the point and click adventure games but is was still impressive that they  got them to come back and agreed to use their licence.

I am sure that TellTale had the voice actors of Sam, MAX, and Strong Bad on speed dial from the past point and click adventure games but is was still impressive that they got them to come back and agreed to use their licence and everyone’s image

 

Which is also impressive that the small gaming company was able to persuade Valve and Gearbox to include multiple cosmetic hats which was one of the major selling point for everyone else who did not want to hear the voice and banter of Strong Bad for one last time. More importantly what I appreciate about the game is TellTale’s policy when it comes to the Team Fortress 2 and Borderlands 2 item unlockables, both Poker Night games makes you earn your fancy cosmetic rewards by playing the game and going through challenges.

In the first game, the ability to unlock Gabe’s Spy Watch or my beloved Soviet era Heavy gun (Be MOP #254) was purely luck based, at the start of every poker match there was a chance the game would trigger an event for one of the NPCs to forget the bring any money, resulting them in using their specific item as collateral to enter the game. In order to win the item you had to bust out that NPC from the tournament to unlock for your TF2 account. Which meant you could (and I did) just reset the poker tournament until the you got the item you wanted and just play aggressively towards that one NPC until you busted him out.

The second game fixed this little reset exploit and made the rewards be a result of more skill than luck, with three randomly chosen objectives and once you complete all of them the item event would happen in the next match and you had to win the tournament to win the item.  I do like this process more, even though it can result in more RNG madness

this was the last three objectives to go through for the last Poker Night 2 these, these just so happen to be the toughest challenges in the game

these are the last three objectives to go through for the last Poker Night 2 these, these just so happen to be the toughest challenges in the game

 

Still I wish that more games on Steam would follow this practice, giving you the cosmetic hat or piece of flair only for after beating the game or completing a certain achievement rather than just placing a preorder on the game. I think this opinion comes from my years of playing WoW and only getting that special mount after earning a meta achievement for a raid or killing the end game boss on Hard mode. On top of TellTale’s commitment to hold cross games items behind achievements and because Telltale can not ruin something as simple as the Poker system in a game, this is one of the few game series that I would buy the sequel to on Day One if (when) Tell Tales release a third Poker Night at the Inventory game.

 

I still won't pace a preorder because even through I play a lot of online I still wont gamble on a promise of a game....even if the bet is a lock

I still won’t pace a preorder because even though I play a lot of online I still won’t gamble on a promise of a game….even if the bet is a lock

 


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#367 My First Impressions of the Infinite Crisis Beta (again)

As I mentioned last week I received quite a bit of codes and access to the beta testing phase for games. To tackle the newest editions to my gaming library  I decided to reboot an old series that ended slightly before it time, “First Impressions”, a blogging series where I give my first impressions -not a full review- on a new bit of game or content.

For such a comeback I decided to kick things off with one games that was a part of First Impressions line up, DC’s Infinite Crisis, returning to it after just under a year so it could develop some more. I will save you some time and link you to my first First Impressions of Infinite Crisis (Be MOP #247) and after re-reading it a lot of the points I made still holds up with the exception that they fix the frame rate dropping issues and they added more heroes into the fray.

Last time I checked in the game only had 13 superheroes to choose from but now they have 28 characters to choose from, did add original Superman and Batman to the roster.

On top of the new heroes Infinite Crisis  added a handful of new microtransaction cosmetic skins for you to buy. This is where the game has the most potential for comic book fans like myself because the game/art developers have the freedom to pay homage to the any aspect of the DC’s history. If you are looking for a perfect example of this just look at the Classic and Clark Kent Superman skins

Just look at this, It's amazing! I still wont buy it, looking back I am probably a bad beta tester for upcoming Moba/ARTS games because I refuse to spend any money into a free game.

Look at this, It’s amazing! I still won’t buy it, looking back I am probably a bad beta tester for upcoming Moba/ARTS games because I refuse to spend any money into a free game.

One of the biggest additions to the game is the selection of maps. before it just had a capture-and-hold circular map with the promise of a Coast City map and I mentioned before how there was no ‘classic’ 5v5, three lane map. But they did fix that with the addition of Gotham Divided map

As for the heroes themselves I do not have much experience on what to look for in move sets and gameplay, all I can say is that I could competently play support as Wonder Woman and Harley Quinn in the few matches I played

 

I will say that the turrets in Gotham Divided seems to hit a bit too hard and have too little defense/health for any of the enemy teams to properly response to our assault in time.

I will say that the turrets in Gotham Divided seems to hit a bit too hard and have too little defense/health for any of the enemy teams to properly respond to our assault in time.

 

But my favorite addition to the game is the voice acting, banter, and kill quests in the game. Each hero has their own sound file for when you recall back to base and whenever you give an advancement or retreat ping on the map. But there are also certain voice files that are activated when two characters interact with each other. When a team has two different versions of the same hero (like Gaslight Joker & Classic Joker or Atomic age and classic Wonder Woman) near each other they create sometimes exchange dialogue like something along the lines of, “say you look familiar” or make a comment what events might have happened to make their worlds so different.

It does not stop at friendly banter there are lines heroes say after you kill a certain hero, Catwoman will occasionally say “I will miss our little dances Batman” when she lands a killing blow on the Dark Knight and Doomsday will make a comment about how Kryptonian blood is the best when besting the Man of Steel. It really shows the level of detail the game developers added when making this game.

 

the flair really shows that the intro cutscene has all of your teammates flying in with your hero taking the lead.

The flare really shows that the intro cut-scene has all of your teammates flying in with your hero taking the lead.

 

But it is not all song and praise from me, some of my old concern are still there. There is no matches against AI to test out your latest hero you purchased and the item art is too small for me to identify what exactly it is whether it be Abin Sur’s Lantern or Joker’s Crowbar. Although I do understand and appreciate the decision to organize the items with one of three backgrounds so I can quickly I identify what stat will be improved when I buy it.

I appreciate the art decision but I don't approve of it, but I also realize I don't have a much better alternative. Thanks to Dawnbase.com

I appreciate the art decision but I don’t approve of it, but I also realize I don’t have a much better alternative. Thanks to Dawnbase.com for this image.

 

It is still shaping up to be a good game and now that it has a bit more content I think will be return back to it and playing a bit more frequently than before. My hope is that, on top of new heroes and skins, Infinite Crisis will continue to add more maps with new play styles to the game, and something other than Gotham City for a location.

 2/3 of the current maps takes place in Gotham when there are literary hundreds of other places in the DC universe to visits. like Oa, Metropolis and the Justice League Watchtower or the Hall of Justice.

2/3 of the current maps takes place in Gotham when there are literally hundreds of other places in the DC universe to visits. like Oa, Metropolis and the Justice League Watchtower or the Hall of Justice.

 

As I said in my last post about Infinite Crisis, I am still waiting for Kyle Rayner, Doctor Fate, the Russian Starfire, and at least one of the Metal Men to be added to the game.


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#300 What is Steam OS’s target demographic?

We have not heard much about the newest Steam product, the Steam Machine and the Steam Operating System, since it was first announced. We have seen a prototype around the web but none are sent out to the beta testers….yet

Me and the 421842 other Steam Hardware Beta Candidate are eagerly waiting to see if we get one of the 300 lucky conformation emails

I and the 421842 other Steam Hardware Beta Candidate are eagerly waiting to see if we get one of the 300 lucky confirmation emails

 

While we are talking about the Steam Machine I want to ask, who is the target demographic for Steam Machine and the Steam OS?

When valve first announced the Steam OS I made a comment that Valve is following the same business model as Google when they went with their plans to release the Android OS, a more technically capable OS and because it was open to third parties it should bring down the cost of the devices. I am talking about it now because I read a report that said the Android phone is currently dominating the smartphone market with 80% of the phone population.

Andriod

But looking back Android OS worked because when the program launched back in 2008 it was in a limited field with Apple being the only real candidate for touchscreen smartphones in the American market. 

The difference between Android and Steam OS is that there is no native monopoly on the next-gen console market. We have the WiiU, the newly released PlayStation 4, and Microsoft’s Xbox One coming out next week and each of those systems have their own demographic and established brand loyalty

And Steam’s players (PC players) are not a reliable demographic to download the Steam OS because most of us already have an operating system that came with my computer and as Tech News and Reviews said, the Steam Operating system (as far as we know) does not cut it as a desktop Operating System.

Despite the negative tone for this post I am still holding out hope that Steam OS becomes as successful as Android in the few years. I will say that it was brilliant for Valve to outsource the hardware specs to other companies, thus giving those computer companies the burden of going through the hassle of finding the target demographic while marketing their own Steam Machines over the main three consoles AND any other Steam Machine competitors.

Then Valve can go around and collect the sales data from those companies, it's magnificent

Then Valve can go around and collect the sales data from those companies, it’s almost to brilliant for words

To be honest, if Valve really wanted Steam OS to be successful they would just have to add an exclusive  Team Fortress 2 hat that is only achieved by launching  TF2 on the S.OS just like they did when they announced that the game is now compatible with Apple OS X and Linux.

lets pray that Valve never releases a special hat that is only unlocked after voting for one party during a presidential election...they could dominate western democracy for decades

lets pray that Valve never releases a special hat that is only unlocked after voting for a specific party during a major election…they could dominate western democracy for decades


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Be MOP focuses on the world of videogames with my own reflections about the current news and developments that happens throughout the gaming industry. Updates Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays

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