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Elaboration ’bout Overwatch cohesiveness

So what is it about this whole “cohesive world” thing that I get so excited about with Overwatch? To answer that I need to explain why I consider Overwatch to be a cohesive world whilst I scoff at the mere notion of calling LOL or DOTA2 cohesive worlds.

What makes my glue cohesive?

DOTA2 is a world filled with heroes from many walks of life, it is a magical world reminiscent of a high fantasy landscape. There are wizards and warriors and spiders and maniacs with dendrophobia. DOTA2, or just DOTA, is a mod of Warcraft 3, which is why DOTAs’ heroes looks like they could have been Blizzard made. Someone thought of a cool mod/custom map to make and poof, we had DOTA. It did get some cohesiveness just from the fact that the assets used to build it had a innate cohesiveness with each other. But it is mostly a “superficial” cohesiveness. It is true that some heroes have connections with each other outside the one you create in-game during a match, but often it is very loose. Also, regarding the fact that the heroes comes from many walks of life, it is a mess. We have a Greek god, manifestations of high concepts/cosmic energies, a spider that want everyone to leave her kids alone, wizards, warriors etc. etc. It is a big mish-mash of colors and ideas. Here is where I say that we see that the glue isn’t strong enough, everyone is so different and their narrative power levels are super unbalanced. Also, no one seems to have a reason for fighting in during the match, why would they fight for either the Radiant or the Dire? (To be fair, this last complaint is overly nitpicky, since the game would suffer if you could only use some heroes with either team or if some heroes couldn’t be used in the same team. Gameplay should in these kinds of games always come first)

So I picked out 3 reasons why I think DOTA2’s glue isn’t as sticky as it should be.

  1. The games world wasn’t thought out from the beginning and is just a throw together.
  2. The “lore”, the info about the heroes, isn’t connected, some of it is but most isn’t.
  3. How can the more humble heroes stand up against literal gods? The power differences aren’t explained.

LOL also suffer from these points, although in a lesser extent. LOL’s world isn’t in the same way a party mix, since the world the fighting takes place in is thought out. The story of LOL, if I don’t remember wrong, is that lords in a kingdom is struggling for control off the throne, which is done by summoning champions from different worlds to fight and represent them in a alternate dimension. This little bit of story gives a “logical” explanation to why the heroes are so different, and why they are fighting. Thought to be honest, I think this is a lazy way to explain everything and it feels more like an excuse than a actual reason, but it works, which they should get some credit for.

The power differences still aren’t explained though.

Sticky, gluey Overwatch.

Overwatch doesn’t have these problems, since their lore is cohesive from the get go (and it is better and more interesting than LOL’s lore). The world of Overwatch is our own but a alternate version of it. In the Overwatch world, technology has come a long way, so long a way that it almost destroyed mankind. Mankind created self supplying factories that started spewing out death robots. This is called the Omnic crisis, and it is very important for the Overwatch universe, since it explains everything! (Not everything but many of the things)

To fight of the machine onslaught humanity created counter measures, and people from all walks of life had to take up the fight against the machines, or else they would perish. This explains why we have a former professional athlete running around with a lazor spewing gun, this explains why we have two psychotic killers equipped weapons made of scraps. Because they were just like everyone else in this world effected by the Omnic crisis.

Why do the heroes have such awesome, superhuman abilities, because it is only technology, just the very advanced sort.

How can they fight on an even playing field, because no one is a god, they are all just humans (except Zenyatta and Bastion) and they have been fighting the same kind of things. And they are all connected due to the fact that they are all earthlings, and they have all experienced the Omnic crisis.

What does this world consistency mean?

The good thing about a consistent/cohesive (maybe I should have used consistent instead of cohesive) is that if done right, nothing in it will feel out of place. Overwatch have a talking gorilla that have lived on the moon, but it doesn’t feel out of place nor random, it feels like something that truly belongs to this world (will get to that in another post). What it also means is that the game and the world can evolve alongside each other. When a new hero is introduced in Overwatch, we will learn more about this world and this characters relation to the other heroes. When a new hero is introduced in LOL, we learn about that hero.

I am not saying that LOL or DOTA2 are bad games because their worlds aren’t as consistent as Overwatch’s , because both of are wonderful games and they can do things story wise/narratively that Overwatch can’t, but as I wrote in the last post, I want to see what Blizzard will do with this.

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Sumtjin ’bout Overwatch

This game is super nice and in some aspects all I wished for. Not only because it is very fun to play and looks amazing (even with my crappy graphics card). No, it is because it is cohesive, so incredibly cohesive. One glance and you can see that there is a unified vision behind its presentation.

As some of you who reads this might know, I have complained about DOTA 2 and LOL not having a cohesive style. Not that their art style is a scrambled mess, cause it isn’t, both their art styles and visual presentation are very cohesive. But the worlds they present aren’t. DOTA 2 just began as a mod of Warcraft 3 and later on they decided to create a story to it so it isn’t weird that they have everything from Greek gods, to internet trolls. LOL opts to use the little more cohesive world idea of having the heroes/champions being pulled from different dimensions to fight. Which to me is a bit cheap, but I can buy in to, it also allows the creators to make whatever they want, so kudos to them for that.

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However, with Overwatch I am seeing for almost the first time a Hero/Champion based game with a cohesive world vision that bleeds in to all the facets of the game. (Yes I am sure some other games have done this before (Tannhäuser for example) but I use this as an example because it’s big, popular and won’t be discontinued any time soon).

Why this excites me is because I am really looking forward to see what Blizzard will do with it. Will it they further the metaplot of the world later on? Maybe rework some of the old Heroes or give them new skins that reflect the story?

The story progression will probably mostly be delivered through comics and CG-trailers as they have up to this point, but even in game we get snippets of information about the cast. Will they down the road ad more “fluff/lore”-voice lines to heroes? I have no idea what Blizzard will do with this new amazing IP so I’m just giddy to be along for the ride.

Pic found here.

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Role-playing shenanigans

Role-playing is a group activity, it is a form of entertainment/enjoyment that steems from the “cooperation” of all participating individuals.

In a GURPS campaign set in the Warhammer 40.000 universe in which I was a player, this was not the case. The party, of four, did not cooperate, in fact it was hardly even a group, it was rather two groups, both of which hated the other (in character, not out of character). This kind of group problems would in most cases just lead to the group falling apart. But ours did prevail, until the shit hit the fan.

Why did this group prevail/not murder each other horribly? I might pretend that some reading this says or thinks.

Firstly: one half of the group was dependent on the other half, because their half, both in and outside of character knew almost nothing about the WH 40k universe. Because of this, the half which had knowledge could more or less tell the other ones what to do or else they would die. It’s kind of funny how most options/choices in WH 40k lead to your or someone else’s death… or just the death of everyone involved.

Secondly: the second reason, sort of, was that the half with little to no knowledge of the universe also was a tad out gunned/powered. They were powerful, one of them were a psychic with a power weapon and really strong armor, but the other half had very big guns, and was also people with higher social ranking. Therefore they couldn’t do what they wanted, since most of society saw them as trash.

So what happened in the end? Things fell apart. The half of the group with knowledge and power realized that especially one of the other party members couldn’t be trusted under any circumstances, unless they wanted a knife or gunshot in their back, which lead to precautions and plotting of ways to kill this character. However, that character acted first, but not before some precautions had been take, luckily.

I think I should shortly present the group before continuing this text. The party was two groups, the “wildling group” which consisted of a thief with serious gun slinging skills and a big ass warrior with psychic powers. Both their characters came from underdeveloped planets and knew nothing about the Imperium of man.

The other half, “the civilized group”, was a Imperial guard lieutenant/soldier and a tech priest. These two had a long running beef with the gunslinger since that character had disobeyed orders several times and acted like a true chaotic evil character.

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It wasn’t this bad… but not too far from it.

Both the tech priest and soldier had foreseen that the gunslinger would probably try to either kill them during their sleep and/or steal all of their stuff while they weren’t looking. Which gave birth to glorious booby-traps. The soldier set explosives all over her door and personal crate that would detonate if not dealt whit right, whilst the tech priest put a friggin Gatling gun pointing towards his door which would rain bullets on anyone entering the wrong way.

The last session of this campaign started with a bang. The gunslinger had tried to enter the soldier’s room to poison her, but luckily/unluckily the gunslinger survived. The gunslinger had even convinced the psychic warrior dude to help with the murder. The soldier found him holding a pillow outside her room, with the gunslinger bleeding from shrapnel and burn wounds. Her, the soldier should have just killed the gunslinger, if it weren’t for the fact that she thought she was only going to be robbed.

Anyhow, during the climax of the session a big battle was fought against overwhelming odds on a space ship. The party was being torn to pieces when the warrior psychic tipped the scale to the party’s side by letting a daemon posses him… which quickly became a even larger threat. All of the soldiers accompanying the party was ripped apart or burnt to cinders with psychic lightning. The gunslinger became mortally wounded but the soldier and tech priest managed to put the unholy creature down with a few well placed holy bolter rounds and prayers to the Omnisha (read: dial up-speak). After the bolters had strategically removed most of the torso of the now dead warrior, the soldier and tech priest started to head for the escape pods. This made the gunslinger mad since she was still alive and proceeded to shot the soldier in the back. Unlucky for the gunslinger, the shoot was not mortal and large parts of the gunslinger shortly thereafter disappeared from bolter rounds.

This party was dysfunctional from the very beginning, too dysfunctional in my opinion. In some RP groups, this situation could very well have been the end of their continued playing, with participants quitting the group. But luckily, our group survived this. It was interesting experiences, and to some degrees one that worked well with the setting, but I wouldn’t want to experience it again. Unless it was decided from the get go that we would be backstabbing each other. Even though the end result was pretty glorious, it was also from time to time very frustrating to play because you never knew if the other half of the party would cooperate or not. Moral of this story: don’t backstab and don’t be uncooperative.

Pic found here: https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/c0/e7/d2/c0e7d26a8d27052faef4a32288b4a253.jpg

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STAR WARS VII (The last one, for now)

Out with the old and in with the new. It’s rebootin’ time!

 

SPOILERS!

 

 

As I and many others have pointed out, this movie is a retread of old steps, but it is also a retelling and kick-off for the new trilogy. This is why Han Solo must die.

Yes, Han Solo must die and Leia and Luke are not allowed to have much screen time (might also be because of their pay…) in the first episode. The reason old characters need to be offed (I’m guessing the other two might also meet a end in one of the upcoming movies) is to cement this as a its own thing. It will still be Star Wars even if a few characters die, that baggage of that franchise goes beyond Luke, Leia and Han, but it needs to ditch as many “bags” as possible to be able to flourish into something “new” and unique. Well, maybe not have to, but it should do it. Because this is a new thing and new things need to do new things, and stop doing retread old stuff.

Because of this, Han Solo had to die. If Han Solo hadn’t died, than there would be problems down the road, such as which character they should put the spotlight on and “why isn’t Han Solo here helping out/solving the problem?” (He also died because Episode VII is copy pasting the plot of Episode IV but it also served the grander purpose of “completely” turning Kylo Ren to the Dark side by performing patricide (and mentorcide))

(The imagery shown leading up to Han Solos death is awesome; I felt a need to mention that)

So during the next two episodes some more of the old characters might die, to further set this trilogy apart from the original but also to drive the overarching narrative forward. Luke might die fighting Snoke, Leia might die from a New Order assault, all to strengthen Finn, Poe and Rey as characters, ’cause they can’t stand in the spotlight if some old crumbs are standing in the way.

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Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens second watching

Now the hype train has come to a stop and I believe the “no spoiler” period is over.

I have seen this movie twice, was it as good during the second watching. No, no it wasn’t but it was still an enjoyable ride. Would I still recommend people to go see it, defiantly, because it is a good adventure/action flick. But that’s ‘bout it.

I might sound a bit harsh, especially since my last post was a weird praising of the movie, which I don’t regret, because back then, it was truly magical. But as with all things, it calms down eventually.

“SPOILERS AHEAD”

If you’ve seen Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, than you has seen this movie. That is something being said by many critiques and while it is true, it is also “not true”. This movie is a stepping stone, a launch pad, from which the new trilogy shall bloom and grow.

So what do I mean by saying that the critiques are true but also not. Well the big story/plot points for this movie are the same as those in Star Wars Episode IV, the goo that binds it all together is not the same, and I think this is important to point out.

The plot is therefore kind of a letdown, since it is a “retelling”, but it is still way better than the prequels. However this creates some interesting character traits in the villain, Kylo Ren. He is a Darth Vader fan boy, and he wants to become a new “Darth Vader” therefore he mimics said person and that makes for a interesting villain. He wants to continue a legacy that failed, and at the same time, he wants be something of his own. I am really looking forward to seeing what they do with this character in the rest of the trilogy.

Next up! Finn, the “odd-ball”, “why odd-ball?” because he is a New Order defector. He was part of the “EVUHL EMPIRE” but after seeing some casual murdering of innocent civilians he decides to go with the good guys. Also, he falls in love with the new generations’ hero. Which is a new thingy-jingy.

The hero of the prequels (Anakin) did also have a love story, which leads to destruction and a imbalance in the force. So it will be interesting to see were this will be going, will Rey respond to Finns feelings, will that lead her down the path of the dark side?

Also our hero this time around is a woman, which I think is cool. Star Wars have been for the most part a sausage-party, with some exceptions. And the movie played did a fun thing with the fact. In one scene, when Rey (the hero) is attacked by some thugs Finn runs to her rescue but before he arrives she has already neutralized the threat.

I’m not sure where I’m going with this, but what I do know is that this film has laid out a good and solid foundation for the two upcoming movies.

Also, the movie is simply gorgeous; a few scenes are simply eye porn.

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Semi random blurt #03

There is a saying that goes: “There is nothing new under the sun” which is more or less true depending on how harsh you are with defining what’s new. This saying will have importance to this SRB.

I think it was back in 08-09 it all happened. I was going to create one of my first original characters (don’t steal ‘kay!(will use the term OC from now on, to be more like the cool kids)). You might already now where this story is going but please keep reading anyway. The reason this was going to be a big deal, at least for me at the time was the fact that it was for a RPG forum. I think it was called “Desert world” or something along those lines. It was going to be my first “public” OC and not only that, I would have to role-play it.

From the start I was suffering from illusions of grandeur, my ambition was to create a totally original OC that was going to become famous on the forum, a main protagonist of sorts. A Wolverine to the X-MEN/Marvel universe. Even if Wolverine isn’t the protagonist of everything or even a main player, everybody knows of him. I wanted to create my own Wolverine. So as I said, my ambitions were high. But as with all great tales (not really) it was doomed to fail from the very start.

My character was going to have the ability to cancel out other peoples abilities, he was going to be an orphan due to murdered family but survived by luck, be happy go-lucky but with a dark past (see what was written before the last comma) and he was going to have a evil creature bound to his body. See, only original traits… at least I thought I was original while creating him.

As I was making the most groundbreaking OC ever seen by this cruel, cruel world I looked through characters that other people had made, to see my “competition” and get inspiration. Whilst going through some characters I stumbled up on a character which had almost the exact same background story, though powerless and whiteout an evil entity tied to his body. But this shattered my innocent mind. I was a rip-off! I was not the creator of a superbly unique OC. I was at most mediocre. This made me sad, very sad and ashamed. So ashamed that I quite the forum without even finishing my character.

So what is the point of this story? For me it was to realize that I ain’t unique and special even though my mother says so. It was also when I realized that no matter what I make, there will be similarities with other things, that came before or which will be created at the same time. And it is something we just have to accept. ‘Cause even if something isn’t completely 100% original, that doesn’t mean it’s bad. If you are making a stereotype, just make sure to make it in to YOUR stereotype and be proud and happy that you made something. Originality comes with practice and time, we need to stumble and fall a few times before we can create the real OC’s.

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Jupiter Ascending

The latest creation from the Wachowski siblings. So what did I thought of it. Meeh~

I was not bored while watching it, but I was indifferent. I would have been fine with watching it at home when it is released on DVD instead of watching at a cinema. So was everything bad about it. No, I would not say that and I am sure that some people will enjoy it a lot more than I did. For one, it has many niecly choregraphed action sequences, which you would expect from a Wachowski film. The aesthetic design of the space ships, space clothes and such was very enticing for the eye. Why I did not like it stems from the fact that our protagonist, or at least the main character Jupiter (played by Mila Kunis) was not needed through out most of the film. She could have just as easily been replaced by a rock or just been kidnapped like Princess Peach in the Super Mario games. It is true that the plot revolved around her being the rightfull heir of space things (do not want to spoile the specifics) but she was never allowed to act against the powers that threatend her. She has one moment near the ending when she is the person taking action against “the enemy”/antagonist, the rest of the time it is Channing Tatum’s character (which I cannot remember the name of) who does all the actions to defy and go against the antagonist. Yes, Jupiter is a damsel in distress, and a sexy lampost, which makes me so sad. Because I believe Mila Kunis is a good actor and that she could have made a great performance if her character was allowed some action. The character is just passive.

To me the movie would have been better if it had focused on Channing Tatum’s character and had the same plot. Or if they reworked the plot all together.

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