Archive for April, 2011

BioWare Taming Down the Love Scenes in Games

BioWare.  I love you, I really do, and everyone knows it.  But something has been bothering me lately, particularly with the arrival of the all new (but less awesome) Dragon Age game.  And this thing REALLY bothers me.  Because I like to get down and dirty when I game.  I want my character in an RPG to get in some hot romance.  Honestly, BioWare, I feel like you’re slipping a bit in the romance department.  Particularly in the scenes.

Female Shepards really make Kaidan nervous. And... I guess male Shepards, too.

First, let’s take the original game that got TONS of flack for being ‘too sexual’ (but all of us who actually played it loved the romance).  The original Mass Effect game had sexual tension, kissing, side boob, and a beautiful booty.  The scene that got incredibly harsh criticism was if you choose to have your female Shepard pursue a romance with Liara, the blue skinned alien.  But it was a gorgeous realization of teammates coming together as more than friends.  My female Shepard had a strong relationship with Kaidan.  So strong, that she skipped any romancing in ME2.

Then came Dragon Age: Origins, a game that had not only hot tenting scenes, but also two characters who would swing either way.  If you played as a male, and wanted to romance the sultry male elf, Zevran, you could.  If you played as a female, and wanted to get it on with the red headed female bard, Leliana, you could.  My female hero of Fereldan Avaline pursued a relationship with Alistair, which culminated in a beautiful romance scene.  After the scene, the option to have them kiss or hop in the tent again continued to be available.  It goes without saying that every time my party returned to camp, I would have Avaline and Alistair tenting.

In the sequel to the original Mass Effect, Mass Effect 2 widened the number of romanceable options for the player.  In fact, Shepard could get it on with various races.  However, in Mass Effect 2, there was no complete nudity.  While Miranda unzips her suit to reveal bra and panties and Jacob strips off his shirt, there’s no sideboob and bum reveal.  And, unlike Dragon Age: Origins, there aren’t any sex motions.  What’s even worse, if you decide to remain faithful to your flame from ME1, you get a rather cold reception on Horizon, and all you’ll wind up doing when you could be getting it on with someone else is staring at a picture of them.  Pretty lame.

Anders Has Glowing Eyes!

Who can resist those glowing eyes? Oh... maybe the people who don't want to date a terrorist.

And in Dragon Age 2, the latest game out by BioWare, some romance scenes don’t have characters in their skivvies at all, and it fades to black WAAAAAY too early.  In fact, I don’t believe there’s an actual tenting scenes in any of the romances.  There might be some kissing, some frantic throwing-against-the-wall, and hand-holding-leading-to-the-bed, but that pales in comparison to the actual sex scenes in Dragon Age: Origins.  It was a huge disappointment to those of us excited to see the new scenes.  These new scenes actually left me in a “That’s IT?!!” state.

As you can see, BioWare has continued to tame down the love scenes in their games.  This makes me incredibly wary of the upcoming Mass Effect 3, and another sequel in the Dragon Age series.  In Mass Effect 3, especially, I’m hoping this trend BioWare has gone on won’t continue.  Because I’d really like to see an explosive reuniting scene with my Shepard and her former flame Kaidan.

BioWare, you may consider this my urgent plea that the toning down of romances and love scenes doesn’t continue for the upcoming games you have in store.  Seriously.  Please.


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Rating: 5.0/5 (9 votes cast)

Star Wars: The Old Republic Sith Progression

Who hasn’t been there? Driving down the highway. Rain is pouring down. You just had a rough, obnoxious day at the office. Jim from the next cubicle over was listening to that damn political speaker on his radio again and quite frankly you find both him and his political views to be offensive. All you want to do is get home to a nice meal, comfortable clothes, and warm inviting sofa.

As the rain pours down you flip your wipers on a little higher to help see through the driving rain and then some ass hat cuts you off causing you to slam on your breaks. That son of a bitch. You summon all your power and stop his car using the power of the Dark Side, rip that damn door off and force choke that impudent piece of filth until he stops kicking. Then when he falls into a lifeless heap on the ground you kick him before going back to your car to get your lightsaber to make sure the job is done.

sith lord force choke star wars old republic

Next time use a damn turn signal while merging!

You’ve never done this? Well you’ve thought about it right? Hells yeah you have! We all have. If you’ve ever wanted to get a better feeling for what it was like to be an unrelenting Sith bad ass LucasArts has released a video illustrating what the progression is like for a Sith in the upcoming Star Wars: The Old Republic.


I have never been one to be a big fan of the Sith but even I have to admit that what I see here makes it seem rather gratifying to run up and beat something down just because, hey, that’s how the Sith roll. We see them progress to a nimble dual wielding Sith Marauder to leap and maneuver himself using stealth and skill to take down teams of enemies.

Then to a larger brooding Sith Juggernaut. This is just pure Dark Side strength and power. This is the very definition of tank. You strap ol’ Leeroy into a Sith Juggernaut and I bet things will go a little differently for him.

We here at Polish the Console are almost drooling with anticipation for this one.

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Peyton Hillis is the cover of Madden 2012 and here’s why

I’m just going to warn you off the bat that talking sport is like talking politics or religion. There is a good chance that you will not agree with what is below. It is biased and written from a place of absolute love for Peyton Hillis. When I watched the results of the Madden 2012 cover come out I kept seeing people exclaim: “Who is Peyton Hillis?” and “Hillis doesn’t deserve to be on the cover of Madden” and some even declared “Well I won’t be buying it because Vick got screwed over”. To them I say maybe you should have paid closer attention last season.

Peyton Hillis Madden 2012 Potential Cover

"I assume Peyton Hillis' sleeves are custom made." ~ Scott - Waiting For Next Year

Some people know it, some people don’t: Peyton Hillis is a beast. Polish the Console is based in Cleveland and quite frankly I am 100% biased. I am a Browns fan and I have been since I watched my first game with my grandfather back in ’83. I have seen highs, I have seen many lows, and I have yet to see a championship. Ever. In any sport. In the 2011 preseason Cleveland got their our glimpse of what we got when we traded Brady Quinn to Denver. I can still remember the first night I saw him play in the preseason.

My wife was next to me and we were sitting 8 rows up in the Dawg Pound (The East End Zone) in a pouring rain that left nobody dry no matter how many rain coats you had on. It was the sort of game you expect to see sloppy football and no good grip could be had by hands or feet. The rain was so strong I had a difficult time keeping my eyes open through it. My wife could no longer wear her flip flops because they absolutely refused to grip her foot. Then through the driving rain we see it barreling towards us: number 40. A man who could single handedly make any offensive coordinator look like a damn genius. From that point on he earned the love of every Cleveland Browns fan in the nation. Over the course of the season we learned something that people in Denver knew all along: Peyton Hillis was an unstoppable force. This is a bit of what Denver saw from him. Not my video I do not take credit for the music:

While, yes, Peyton Hillis was not the best running back in the NFL he was certainly one of the more punishing. I could throw individual game stats and figures at you but with 16 games 270 carries 1,177 yards for an average of 4.4 yards per carry he is hands down not the number 1 running back in the league last season and far from the best player. Then again neither was the other finalist, Vick. But this year’s Madden cover wasn’t about stats or MVPs. This years Madden cover was all about the fans. You can’t deny the power of the fans. Yes some people may have feared “The Madden Curse” and picked against their own team’s player or voted against Vick on principle, apparently he has a shady past. Some people may have voted against him because they didn’t know who was, and that’s fine. Simple fact is 66% of the people voted for him in the finals.

Peyton Hillis Leaping over defender

Couldn't go around it, so we went over it!

But when we break down some of this years innovations released by EA we begin to see why Hillis is in fact a solid fit. For me the visualizations are icing on the cake. Some of these include:

  • Broadcast Redefined: Experience NFL Sundays like never before with completely overhauled presentation, including 32 team-specific run outs featuring mascots and cheerleaders, over 500 dynamic broadcast cameras authentic to every NFL stadium, innovative “real” on-field cameras shot by expert NFL Films cameramen, and a network inspired new broadcast graphics package.
  • Unprecedented On-Field Authenticity: Hundreds of visual improvements across all areas of the game including: new player equipment, helmet stickers, pylon and ball physics, a player degradation system that affects uniforms and helmets based on weather and field surface, 3D grass, and new player specific animations that showcase the personalities of each NFL player.

What really matters is how the game plays. On Sunday you always see someone break a sick tackle and go big. This is something that Madden has been working towards but has never been quite there. This season they continue making strides towards this while maintaining and even expanding on the speed and flow that they introduced last season:

  • All-New Collision System: Now maintain full control of players up to the point of impact — from tackling to blocking — providing the most authentic collisions in franchise history. This new system uses a player’s momentum and over 100 new tackle animations, including 40 gang tackles, to provide more impactful hits, stolen tackles, and consecutive hit tackling.
  • Advanced Defensive AI: Over 100 defensive A.I. enhancements resulting in the smartest Madden defense ever. Players in zone and man coverage will properly recognize and react to plays, including the ability to break out of assignments when appropriate, resulting in a defensive team that truly works together.
  • Custom Playbooks: The #1 most requested feature by fans in recent years, allows you to build the ultimate game plan by modifying an existing playbook or creating your own by selecting up to 400 offensive or defensive plays from 75 different playbooks. Integrate your custom playbook into a game plan for use with the improved GameFlow system, which executes an authentic, situational game plan for you.

It’s this “All-New Collision System” that makes Peyton Hillis a perfect man to have at the helm. For those that didn’t witness last season’s Cleveland Browns here’s a small taste of what gave us our indomitable hope:

He embodies the new collision system. On the field he is a super dense mass of pure momentum. His entire play style is derived from “I’m gonna go through it. If I can’t go through it then I’m gonna go over it. If neither of those work then when I go down it’s going to contain a lot of forward progress and end in an earth shattering thud.”

Peyton Hillis Madden 2012 Cover

None of you want that running at you in an open field

Peyton Hillis is like the Kool-Aid man in an orange helmet. He is one of few people in the world who could legally change his middle name to “Muthafukin” and actually pull it off. I was thinking about getting a Peyton Hillis tattoo mid season last season but I came to the realization that it would see I’m not man enough for it and reject my body by leaving to start a more manly life of its own.

He single handedly delivered “sports hope” to an entire beleaguered city. It’s no mystery how we feel about our sports. Cleveland fans are a special breed where we will suffer through endless steams of losing seasons in all major sports just for that one glimmer of hope to carry us through. Each time Peyton Hillis broke through a defenses we saw our dreams break through one more layer of our 40+ year history of missed chances. He’s a bight shining ray of hope for the fans who need it most. That is precisely why he is on the cover of Madden.

Madden is never about that player on the cover. It’s all about the fans. I thought they hit on this last season when the New Orleans fans were in the background. This was the first instance we have ever seen the fans featured prominently on any Madden cover.  The fans make it all possible and the fans are what keeps it going. Peyton has already come out and said “This is not about me.” When asked about being on the cover:

“Well, it’s huge,” Hillis said. “They really haven’t had a winner in a while, ever since they left to go to Baltimore. In my mind, this is not about myself, this is not about me, this is about what can I give back to the team and community and hopefully that’s a winner.”

What you see is not a man driven by money or fame. It’s a man who simply enjoys stepping out onto a football field and wants to play and play hard. He’s a man who has a deep love for the game. He’s a man that genuinely cares about competition. Peyton Hillis is a guy that can get things done. I wonder what makes him tic? I wonder if he’d be interested in knowing what makes me tic? In my eyes Peyton Hillis is a fantastic fan picked choice for Madden 2012 and I for one want to say thank you to everyone who voted, no matter who you voted for.

You may now disagree with me below.

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How can Sony correct the Playstation Network problem?

sony playstation network has a black eye

Yeah it's kinda like this

Did something happen to the Playstation Network? Seriously guys I can’t play White Knight Chronicles online right now. Oh Sony, what have you brought upon yourself? For those who are somehow unaware of the events of the past week let me lay it out there for you: the Playstation Network hasn’t been working. All this transpired in the week of a huge game release (Portal 2 anyone?) who’s multiplayer component was lauded as spectacular.

There was rampant speculation and rumor as to what has transpired but what it boils down to is that it was hacked. In a post on the Playstation Blog:

Although we are still investigating the details of this incident, we believe that an unauthorized person has obtained the following information that you provided: name, address (city, state, zip), country, email address, birthdate, PlayStation Network/Qriocity password and login, and handle/PSN online ID. It is also possible that your profile data, including purchase history and billing address (city, state, zip), and your PlayStation Network/Qriocity password security answers may have been obtained. If you have authorized a sub-account for your dependent, the same data with respect to your dependent may have been obtained. While there is no evidence at this time that credit card data was taken, we cannot rule out the possibility. If you have provided your credit card data through PlayStation Network or Qriocity, out of an abundance of caution we are advising you that your credit card number (excluding security code) and expiration date may have been obtained.

Yeah things aren’t looking to well for Sony at this stage. If my Twitter feed is any indication people are angry and rightfully so. Sony had suspicions of the problems and should have notified people that their information may have been compromised from the onset. While they may have chosen to maintain silence until they were absolutely certain it still paints them in a bad light. No matter how hard they work to fix this problem they are stuck in a PR nightmare that I do not envy.

However there is no such thing as “insurmountable”. Sadly in this case Sony is not just dealing with an “oopsie” moment. There is a serious problem here and Sony may very well have lost a decent chunk of loyal Playstation customers because of not only their inability to keep sensitive data private but their overall reaction to the entire problem.

But here’s some ways they can make up for their problems.

psn logo1.) Make the new PSN tighter than Area 51

Scratch that. People know about Area 51. Make it as tight as the place the government now does all their next level science projects. First and foremost nobody is going to use the Playstation Network unless you can not only state “This is hands down the most secure thing we’ve ever done” but have the proof behind it. Nobody is going to buy in unless they know why it’s secure. The caveat here is you will in fact be opening yourself up to more attacks by saying “Look how secure we are.” This means you’re really going to have lock it up slightly more than a heroine in a B-Movie. I suggest starting with  encryptions on all sensitive payment information and maybe passwords. #JustSayin

2.) Fix you PR problems

In my daily grind job I work marketing. It’s what I do, it’s what I love. With that I work closely with my PR team and quite frankly this is something they would see as a debacle. Shutting your eyes to a problem and not talking about it in public for a while will not make people forget about it. Especially a major source of entertainment and relaxation isn’t functioning the way they intended. While this isn’t on the level of Chipotle and the dead cat it still goes down a major corporate no-no. You waited almost a week to tell people their credit card information may (and I do stress may) be compromised. Proper customer relationship management starts with proper communication. If people don’t think you’re being straight with them then they will find someone who will. Now they don’t need me harping on this because odds are they know just what they need to do, but this was the big rub with a lot of people.

3.) Start the marketing campaign

What’s Kevin Butler up to? He’s been oddly silent on Twitter since April 20th. Start the marketing machine. It’s why marketing exists. Use it to your advantage. While yes he’s going to have to come out with more than a simple witty retort there’s no denying that Kevin does have a certain magic about him. I don’t think I’m alone when I say that I wouldn’t mind running a brush through his feathery blond locks. If KB were to call me up and say “Why don’t we go share a man sized cup of coffee and a slice of rhubarb pie” I would be hard pressed to say no. In fact I think that’s what KB needs to start doing. Dolling out free pie and coffee from the warm hands of Kevin Butler can go a long way to soothe the rage of the scorned fans.

4.) You would be amazed what you can accomplish with bribery

Actually since we’re on the topic bribery in general is going to be your best bet. I’m sure fans will be much more eager to come back and test the waters if they have a valid reason. People are freetards; that is anyone who operates at a diminished mental capacity when someone says “Free <fill in the blank>”. Anyone who has ever been to a basketball game or any sporting event knows that when the “Free Stuff Cannon” get brought out you would have no problem knocking over an old lady to get a t-shirt that is 4 sizes too big or a plastic basketball. It’s either that or many people foster some deep seeded desire to be shot with an oversize air cannon. Spoiler Alert: It’s not as fun as it sounds. I’ve been there. Ahhhhh college. But toss a free game or something at the users at least get them motivated to come back and say “I’ll see what’s out there.”

5.) You’re gonna have to own up to this one

Yeah it’s a rough one. You’re going to have to stand up and say “Yep. We fucked this up. Sorry guys.” That simple sentence will go a long way with people to make things better. Yes it’s a very simple step but it is one that could totally revolutionize the entire business industry. Actual accountability and admitting fault. I’m not saying it’s going to get you out of the class action suit that’s almost certainly being drafted as we speak. But we all know you messed up. You know you messed up. Just step up. If you can’t parade the individual responsible out in front of everyone and say “It was all Zero Cool” then it was all you.


I bet you forgot Renoly Santiago was in this movie

6.) It would not hurt you at all to dance sexy

I’m super serial. Raise your hand if you’ve ever been angry as hell watching someone dance sexy for you. Nobody has their hands up. Now raise your hand if you have ever said “Don’t dance sexy for me, I don’t like it.” There may be a few hands up but they are in the overwhelming minority. Come on Sony. We know you. We love you. Shake a little somethin’ for us. This is something the beer companies learned a long time ago. Sex sells, sell it Sony. Nothing raunchy. Just a little tease. You’re not filthy, just a little dirty.

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RE: 12 Ways Consoles Are Hurting PC Gaming

A story caught my eye recently.  A title that had me showing my O face before I even read the the full story.  However,  I always try to come across as a critic no matter the situation.  In this article, I will go through all the “ways” this article details and give my thoughts on each.  Ready?  here we go!

Delayed/Glitchy Ports

I would say they are about 60% right.  While I do see the glitchy ports……alot.  I do not see many delayed ports.  Even if a port has been delayed, I would hope its for the good reason of working out more bugs.  For this reason, I would rather see a port for my platform delayed than released on launch day only to be unplayable.

Delayed aside, glitchy ports do plague the PC world.  The biggest example recently would have to be Homefront.  A good game that gives the average FPS person a break from the monstrosity CoD or EA’s own fuckup Bad Company.  It gives a dev console, dedicated servers (although dedicated servers tools still need to be released), and a break from ridiculous melee kills.  However, there is always a badside.  The dev console literally does nothing, no matter what you type into it (it may be only used for server admins).  Servers will just randomly drop players or just quit altogether during or after a match.  The friends tab, where you should be able to join a server that a friend is in, does not work at all.  This forced my friends to call out IP addresses to join eachother, now if only the game allowed you to see the IP addresses while playing in the server -_-;.  Even the server browser has issues pulling up the hundreds of servers.  The game will only pull up servers when it feels like it.  I imagine

I imagine all these problems are not true for the 360 port.  Leave a comment if this is not true.

Another big example was Dead Space 1.  To keep this short, the glitches were so bad, I died more because of them than I did by the enemy’s hand/claw.

Dumbed-Down Sequels

IMHO, ME2 was dumb-downed.  I like my crapload of items and pondering whether or not to switch to different armor or weapon sets.  There is a bit of an argument to be made about DA2 though. (Disclamer: I only played the beta, not the full game, at the time of writing)  With DA:O, the gameplay was very much geared towards keyboard and mouse.  The micromanaging was almost akin to a mini RTS in how much you would need consider.  With DA2, it has been simplified to a point where consoles can now have an easier time.  However,  the gameplay allows the PC port to hang on to the complexities that were their in the original.

Overall, I think this one is more of a stab at greedy companies trying to push hasty sequels (*cough* Activision *cough*).  I think this can hurt everyone, although the 360 less because more games are optimized towards that platform.

The Future Isn’t Now

This is the one that I most disagree with.  There is a reason that stigma of “PC Gaming costs much more than a console” has lasted for so long.  Its because the PC game is always evolving graphically, unlike the console game that can only evolve every 4-8 years.  However, with graphics hitting a peak, and lighting now evolved to a point where realism has been realized, there is not much more room to evolve.  The next evolution is ray tracing (which right now, requires 24 servers computing at once to achieve 60fps).  Needless to say, this will not be used for awhile.

I would have to turn this around and say the past is now.  I know its arrogant to keep looking to the past, but hear me out.  There was one evolution in PC gaming that I still herald to this day.  When CoD2 came out for PC, it allowed one to use DirectX7 or DirectX9.  This made about a 50fps difference at the time.  To be able to use older DX level and still enjoy your game made CoD2 all the much more enjoyable and playable.  Now games are starting to use this switch off for DX9,10,11.  However,  the difference is more whether its playable vs. unplayable.

No, the future isn’t now, but it won’t be for quite awhile still.  For now, we can optimize what we have even more to make this platform more accessible.

Lousy Interfaces/Controls

I can attest to this point on many occasions.  The biggest example off the top of my head being Bioshock.  The PC controls were so loose that it would force me to use a controller.  However, this was because of poor pointer acceleration.  This is again a testament to poor quality control in ports.  Just mapping support for keyboard and mouse is not enough.  This is like mapping controls for a racing game to only respond digitally instead of analog (full acceleration or no acceleration).  Not having a mouse pointer for menu screens or being able to remap controls also!?  Like the article mentions, its 2011.  PC gaming is not defined by just mouse/keyboard support and being able to change the graphics.

There Is No Mod

One wonders how much mileage one can get from a game.  When game developers are now releasing less and less maps (and more P2P DLC), I would like to ask you, how much have you spent on one game?  How many times has there been a glitch in a game that the whole community hates but the developer ignores?  With modding support, the community can help themselves.  Whether its newer/better maps, or even an unofficial patch to help gamers who still play the game (Vampire the Masquerade, a horribly glitchy game, saw MANY unofficial patches to help).

Granted, something community driven can fragment the community.  You like to only play surfing maps, others like to only play Aim maps, the other only will play zombie maps.  Where one sees fragmentation, I see variety.  Lets face it, there should always be regular maps and types being played, why not spice things up a bit.  If the first time you played a zombie map was in CoD:WaW, or black ops, then you are sorely missing out.

The Great Divide

Again, this seems more of a wild stab than staying on target.  People will always argue why halo is better than half-life, or why PC gamers would kick the ass of console players head to head.  He makes the best point of, its always about having fun.  When you are not having fun, you are no longer gaming.


Again, one I do have to disagree with.  This would have be a product of, again, lazy developers who do not thoughtfully map out auto save points.  Everyone reading has had to been through an experience where you get so far in the game only to die because of something random, only to see that the last time you saved was about 45+ minutes ago.  I have gotten so immersed into situations that the last thing on my mind was to save.  With auto-save, it keeps me from having to break the immersion.

Auto-saving does have its follies.  Sometimes that 45+ minutes was because there was no save point for a long time.  Sometimes the auto save comes right after a horrible mistake.  However, if thought out, the auto save can present challenges that would not otherwise present itself with quick save.  Maybe going through a full challenge that might take 10 minutes.  If you mess up, you start over.  It does prolong the frustration, but it presents a unique mindset of fear that puts you “in the moment”.  You start sweating as the in-game character would,  except its not about saving the world, its about saving the next 9 minutes of your life.

Games For Windows

Nothing to say here.  He makes the point, and I agree.  GFW has not been needed in PC gaming nor will it ever be.

Making Us Hate Our Favorite Developers

Now, to clarify more for the writer of the article.  We (PC Gamers) do not hate our favorite developers because they switched to console.  We hate them because they act like they care about the community (which, if true, MW2 would never have seen the light of day on PC.  Same goes for my argument about whether there truly is a god, but that is for another day).  For the rest, he couldn’t make it any better.  No demo, outsourced port, glitches, and delays.  That I can deal with, but the lie tops the chart.

Kinecting The Dots

As a short response, wait for the market to grow cold.  The kinect will recognize its true potential soon.

Non-Existent Post-Release Support

This can depend on your version of “support” after release.  Does the developer release patches post release?….yes.  Does the developer ignore problems the community brings up?…yes.  For the record, provided DLC is NOT considering post-release support.  That is only providing an expansion pack.  As much as people blew up the cheater fiasco for MW2, I have to sort of sympathize with the devil on this one.  IW was in a bad place, the CoD series was being raped more than the Guitar Hero series (although they thankfully stopped for now), and employees were bleeding out.  However, it doesn’t excuse Black Ops.

PS: Remember the time when patches actually brought along free maps…good times, good times.

Dead-icated Servers

Tis a sad day when things like “Dedicated Servers” is being promoted on the box.  I do have to disagree with Bad Company 2.  Although it does technically have dedicated servers, you can not create your own without shelling out cash to rent one.  It still missed the point and got famous for people turning a blind eye.  I could go on with this point, but lets be blunt.  Dedicated servers are being labeled as old technology….I agree.  But until we get something better, they will always be the best form of MP gaming.  Embrace it, make it evolve.  You can integrate matchmaking into dedicated servers (America’s Army already provides level blocks for servers.  Want a noob friendly friendly server, you got it.)

There are many other arguments to be had here.  Many points in this article do apply and I can only hope some developers get a hold of it.  I like to think that I don’t ask for much, but when you have scraped away so much and start hitting the basics of what makes a PC game, it becomes painful to watch.

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