Nerf off!

The subject of “nerfing” weapons has been one that has perplexed and annoyed me for a while now. This is basically the life cycle of in game weapons:

  • Game comes out
  • People play game
  • People find a gun that is more effective than the others
  • Said gun gets popular
  • The people who can’t/don’t/won’t use the gun complain that it makes the game unbalanced
  • The developers patch weapon
  • All weapons become wet towels

The thing is, these games are supposed to be going for a certain amount of realism. Well guess what? In real life weapons are not balanced. If you get hit by a round from the Barrett .50 calibre rifle you’re either going to be dead, or looking for half price deals on gloves or shoes.

In Geoff’s latest video he mentions that a number of guns in BFBC2 are going to be “nerfed”. Why? Because they are more powerful than others? But that’s the way it should be, or rather – that’s life baby! If a gun is powerful then you should use it, if you choose not to use it then you shouldn’t really complain when someone opts for the quick kill option. It’s not really rocket science to work out that people are going to use the most effective weapon. It’s lunacy to willingly choose the weakest gun in the game except for some masochistic purpose.

As a new player to the game, every weapon other than the wet towel I’ve been given is more powerful and effective – but I’m not complaining. I know that when I level up I’ll have more weapon choice. If I wanted to play a game where everyone had equally powerful weapons then I’d play Ogga Ugg Banga Whack Whack!

The Most Balanced Game Never Made

There will always be an imbalance because people are of differing skill levels. The uber-1337 players soon get fed up using the “overpowered” weapons and switch to something that presents more of a challenge for them. The rubbish players eventually manage to level up enough to get their grubby little hands on the holy grail of shooting only to find that actually it’s not the gun that makes the player and they spend just as much time dead with the mega-weapon as they did with the peashooter. Nerfing weapons doesn’t solve a game imbalance, it just appeases the complainers – who will then go on and complain about the next most powerful weapon.

So come on people, stop nerfing stuff. It doesn’t solve anything, it just makes everyone switch to the next “overpowered” gun until we’re all running around with the custard guns from Bugsy Malone.

Nerf Off!

Peas and loaves.

Find me on PSN – evaDlivE

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More Search Stat Fun (lag switch and crosshairz)

Since my visit to Ebay and subsequent post about some of the crap* you find on there, search engines are now sending people this way for information on said devices. Et voila:

I am an authority on all things douche

So, here’s the low down for all you peeps with inquiring minds.

How Stuff Werks!

Search query: how crosshairz work

Answer: they show you where the centre of your screen is. But in order to use them you first have to work out where the centre of your screen is. Once you know where the centre of your screen is you’ll find that your don’t need your crosshairz any more (or at all).

Pro tip: To find the centre of your screen first measure from top to bottom, half that figure to get halfway vertical. Measure from left to right, half that figure to get halfway horizontal. Where those two figures meet is the centre of your screen.

Incidental information: Sticking random sticky stuff to the centre of your screen to aid aiming has been around for as long as first person shooters. Back in the day (before Crosshairz) the method of choice was felt tip pen, some tape, or a bit of Blu-Tac. But in reality it is a pointless exercise as whatever you use ends up obscuring what you are supposed to be aiming at.

Search query: ebay switch lag game

Answer: A lag switch sits between your PC or games console and your router/internet connection. When you flick the switch it interrupts ALL communication between the devices. Does it work? If by ‘work’ you mean stops your connection, then yes it works. But without a controller to regulate the amount of lag you’ll encounter Host Migration (if you’re host) or the lobby screen if you’re not. Which is great as it self terminates cheats.

Pro Tip: If you’re going to search for an item on Ebay – try going to Ebay and using the Ebay search rather than a search engine….

Incidental information: If you’re willing to pay for a device to help you cheat on a game then you must be utterly pathetic at said game. Instead of wasting your cash in an attempt to become an uber-douche why not hop on the forums and ask for some tips, or have a look at gameplay videos on YouTube. If you have to cheat to win you’re only cheating yourself – no one likes a cheat, and you will get found out.

If either of these answers saved you the purchase cost of these items, then consider donating the money you saved to a charity of your choice instead.

This has been a public service announcement on behalf of the Half a Brain Society of Great Britain.

Peas and loaves.

Find me on PSN – evaDlivE

*Crap is a purely subjective term. My definition of crap may be incompatible with your view. Your mileage may vary. May contain nuts. Not machine washable.

Infinity Ward – Is this the end for gaming?

This post relates to the sacking/quitting of Jason West and Vince Zampella by Activision for “breach of contract and insubordination”. Now the only people who currently know what really happened are Jason West, Vince Zampella, and Activision. I’m not in a position to speculate on what happened, or who did what to whom and why (there are plenty of other resources to look at if that’s your thing) but I did want to touch on one rumour that was bandied about when the news broke. Allegedly Jason and Vince had had a meeting with EA Games and Activision got wind of it. How true that is may or may not come out in the wash, but the very notion of them being in discussions with EA fills me with horror.

To understand why, we need to step back in time……..

2002 – Medal of Honor:Allied Assault (developed by 2015 for EA) was launched to much fanfare and it was for the time a relative commercial success. It was my first real online PC shooter and I had just got the wonderous new technology called broadband so I was able to pwn some noobs (that’s not strictly true, I’m as bad at shooters now as I was then). It was a great game, except for cheating, hacks and exploits online being used by certain groups in the gaming world. At one point it became almost impossible to find a decent game. EA didn’t really address the issues to any meaningful extent and promised that everything would be sorted with the Spearhead expansion pack.

So the Spearhead expansion pack came out for a small amount of time everything was rosy. The expansion pack was good, the maps and new stuff added a new dimension to the game…..but then the cheats, hacks and exploits crept back in and we were back to square one. There were calls for EA to implement PunkBuster or similar technologies, or at the very least….do something.

Then two of the 2015 Medal of Honor guys left, founded Infinity Ward and there was word of a new WW2 shooter called Call of Duty in the pipeline. There was much discussion on the forums and within the groups that I was playing online with about the title. Don’t get me wrong, Medal of Honor was a fantastic game and I spent many hours playing it, but the title was sorely let down by EA. In the end it was obvious that EA only cared about retail sales and had no interest in resolving issues that the gaming community had.

When Call of Duty came out it really was a “Wow!” moment. The game was amazing. It was innovative, it looked good (for the time) and it pushed the boundaries. But even more important was the fact that Infinity Ward actually responded to the gaming community concerns, there was PunkBuster and even more crucially – they patched hacks and exploits quickly. It was like the Golden Age had arrived and its heralds were…..Jason West and Vince Zampella.

So for them to allegedly to have been meeting with EA would have been the end of gaming for me because I no longer buy EA games. Since 2003 every EA title I have purchased has been a disappointment. On the surface the games are pretty, but after playing for a while it’s obvious how repetitive and ugly they really are with clunky controls and glitches. Sometimes when playing EA games it feels like I’ve paid £45 to be a beta tester to find bugs that won’t get fixed – in 2007 I said enough was enough and blacklisted EA.

So there we have it, potentially the end of Infinity Ward as we know it, and unless someone else steps up to bat the end of FPS gaming for me (I don’t like Quake or Halo).

And in other news:

I’ve taken the Cheap Freaks off my controller due to slippage – read the update at the bottom of this post for more info.

It’s the weekend so I’ve been getting my arse handed to me online. I’d like to blame it on the fact that I couldn’t use my headset last night for the majority of time I was online, but in reality all that would have improved would’ve been the forewarning that I was about to get shot in the face. No scores or maps listed as it really doesn’t matter – I went negative on most of them. It was so bad I was considering ringing a victim support line…..

One highlight though was playing HighRise. I decided to try and play a bit more tactically on there after watching sasbenjr’s YouTube videos. Unfortunately there was some idiot running around with commando and the tactical knife…..and it wasn’t me! So after the third time he got me I changed to my Game Rage class but he was still getting me. Using some of sasbenjr’s tips the tac knife commando numpty became my bitch as he kept using the same route! After the fifth time killing him in the same place he became a bit more wary……which just made it easier. He was even the game winning kill cam to my MP5K – HOORAY! So even when you spend the evening being violated, there’s always a bright side.

Peas and loaves.

Find me on PSN – evaDlivE

Cheap Freaks FPS – Review

So that there’s no confusion, this is not really a review. Now that’s out of the way…

You may have seen the KontrolFreek FPS doo-dahs being pushed by everyone and their dog lately. This sudden ramping up of viral marketing can be put down to one of two things – they’re either the best thing since thumbs, or there’s commission to be made. Or maybe both. – Yes, I’ve linked to them, but it’s a direct link, no referal codes, if you go there I get nothing, if you don’t go there I still get nothing.

But on with the “review”. It’s only fair to point out that I do not have, nor have used the KontrolFreek FPS thumb dingles. I have read what other people including Donncha, SeaNanners, PyroPuncher and others have said about them. What interested me more is not whether or not they turn you into an MLG Pro player overnight, or turn your 26-3 stats into 75-1, I was into the physics of it. If it worked, how does it work.

But before we get into that, allow me to introduce to you the Cheap Freaks FPS*. It retails for no pennies and is available free in most homes.
*Some assembly required.

What’s in the box?
Well…nothing, but here’s what you’ll need:
KontrolFreeks FPS alternative
A child’s drink bottle (or any that has those little plastic caps on top), your console controller, and some blu, or white tack – white is the choice of Pro’s.

KontrolFreeks FPS alternative - assembly
First, take the clear plastic sealer cap from the top of the bottle. Place it to one side and then drink the contents of the bottle – glug, glug, glug. You can use the bottle for other projects as “Hydrogen Fuel Cells for Beginners” or “Fun With Hydro Rockets”, otherwise recycle it.

Now get your blu-tac, or Pro white-tac and roll out a small sticky sausage to fit the circumference of your analogue stick. If you want to be super precise you can use the following formula to work out how long that is: 2 π r

Once you have your sticky sausage, place it toward the outer edge of the analogue stick. You can now get the plactic cap and place it on top. You may need to adjust the placement, but the good thing about this is that you can place the cap to whatever is comfortable for you. And it will look something like this:
KontrolFreeks FPS alternative
KontrolFreeks FPS alternative

It’s ugly.

Ugly is not the same as useless. As long as something does what I want it to I’m not particularly bothered what it looks like. So does it work?

That really is the big question…..

Well here’s my experience. It didn’t help my k/d. In fact, it was worse during my testing phase of three games. So obviously that makes it useless right? Wrong! My k/d is bad because I’m a bad player, my k/d was worse because I was looking for engagements. To explain a bit more, here’s my conclusion:

My Conclusion
The Cheap Freaks FPS does what it says on the tin in my experience. And if my crappy no-monies version works then the proper KontrolFreeks FPS must also work (but look better). I normally play on a Sensitivity setting of 2 or 3 when playing Call of Duty 6 – Modern Warfare 2. With my Cheap Freak attached I was playing on 7 (I incremented up to that). I could probably have gone higher, but didn’t feel the need as the concept had been proven to me.

They don’t make your game better though. No add-on will ever make you a better player – that is completely down to the individual. What it does is give you more control – especially fine control for tricky aiming. Having come from PC gaming this level of control is something that I have sorely missed. If you’re fine with your controller as it is, then these products will not be of benefit but if, like me, you find your aim is erratic then give it a go – either the Cheap Freaks if you don’t mind looking like a street crazy, or the KontrolFreeks if you like to video yourself playing.

Would I buy the proper version? For $10 yes I probably would because I noticed a significant difference when using my Blue Peter version. But since I live in the UK I’m not likely to buy them as I abhor postage charges, nor the $ to £ conversion that suppliers use (“$10….well, we’ll sell it for £10. No one will ever know…..”)

Hey! What about the Science bit?
M = Fd
Okay. How they work…’s all about leverage. The nubbins on the controllers are quite small so the shaft (lever) is short. This means that small movements of the nubbin/lever translate into large inputs. So when you extend the length of the lever the fulcrum/pivot relationship is altered in such a way that you have to move the nubbin more to gain the same amount of relative movement as before.

So when you run around the corner and get surprised, instead of wildly flailing and firing at the sky, your knee jerk reaction becomes a smooth arcing headshot. BOOYAAAH! as JunkYard would say.

Found this helpful? Good. Found it really rubbish? Well, you read this far so it can’t be that bad ;-p

After playing last night (Friday 5th March 2010) for over an hour the Cheap Freak went out of position due to the white-tac getting warm and through the pressure of use. White-tac or blu-tac is not designed for this purpose so the flaw is not in the material, but in my choice of material. The issue was a lateral shift which hindered my movement control. So I’ve removed the Cheap Freak and reverted to my old sensitivity setting of 3. In this test, for me, the concept of the KontrolFreek FPS has been proven and if I come across some of these for the equivalent of $10 then I’ll be investing in them.

Peas and loaves.

Find me on PSN – evaDlivE