rock'n'roll, country, punk & metal.
bands that combine all four successfully.
design, graphic & interior.
the intersection of philosophy & sociology.
emergent gameplay, of the videogaming variety.
deep fried everything.
making lists, including this one of my life's ambitions, and these of things on my mind at the time.
i took a trip! read about it here.
evidence of my lame yuppie side on my (gasp!) house blog here.
Hey cheapskates! Remember how obsessed I am with Stacking? Well good news! You can get it, and its DLC, The Lost Hobo King, at 50% off on XBL right now (600p and 200p respectively). Also, trivia nerds will be pleased to find out that all 4 DLC add ons for You Don’t Know Jack! are also 50% off. I picked up all of them for 800 points, and given that together they add another 40 episodes to the full game’s original 73, that’s a pretty solid value.
This past weekend meant double XP in the world of AssRev (Assassin’s Creed Revelations, for the uninitiated) multiplayer, something I took intense advantage of. I hit level 50 on Thursday night, and am more than halfway towards completing my first full Prestige level, greatly aided by the fact that my points were doubled all weekend long.
The promise of double XP lures tons of players online at all hours of the day or night, which is great. Not so great? Tons of players, which means that the usual ratio of shitty to awesome players is unusually inflated. The game mode in question is Wanted, where patience and quick wits are prized, and while I’ve come across some amazing players, whose stealth is fully admirable, many of my games have been populated by “100 pointers”. These are players who have chosen to ignore the now mandatory tutorial, and against the rules of mathematics and sense, continue to hope that running around the map at breakneck speed and stabbing their target for a paltry 100 points (or shooting them with the gun, CoD-style) will grab them enough points to win.
Now, there’s nothing that terrible about 100 pointers, in that they’re easy prey, often running right into a clever player’s blade. Bear in mind, with the new AssRev mechanics, a 100 pointer’s kill is usually a zero sum game. They run at you and stab you for 100 points, you counter with a stun, and the game gives you an “honorable death”… 100 points for him, and 100 points for you. Nonetheless, when the majority of players in the session are stealthy, high-scoring gamers playing for big points, having your kills constantly interrupted by 100 pointers is a total drag.
This is the reason why I’ve submitted an inordinate amount of player reviews this weekend. Xbox Live allows you to avoid certain players, without having to file a complaint, simply by “tattling” on them to the system. You can avoid a player for 3 general criteria, each of which have subsets:
Unfamiliar With Game
My understanding is that avoiding a player for skill reasons doesn’t ultimately affect their reputation, and since I consider 100 pointing to be a form of impairment, I choose to take pity on those poor impulse control deprived souls and only pick “lack of skill”.
As for the other categories, I have very, very rarely chosen to avoid anyone for any of those. “Quit early” could just as easily be a server glitch, and I’ve very rarely experienced any mic abuse worthy of report. As for griefing (a.k.a. “unsporting conduct”), I’m so used to it, that I don’t bother hitting “avoid player” on any of them (unless you literally follow me, shoving and circling me for 30 seconds or more, then I lower the banhammer).
"I should go look at my reputation!", I thought. Last time I checked, which was pre AssRev/AssBro domination, it was rock solid. Imagine my surprise when I discovered that, despite being 5 stars overall, and with a 71% approval rating, 29% of the people I’ve played with have chosen to avoid me. Ouch! As for why, well, Xbox only shows you the two criteria in question: Communication, and Game Behavior. Apparently, 50% of the players avoiding me reported me for "trash talking" and the other half for "unsporting conduct", but all of this is highly, highly suspect. First of all, I’ve never griefed anyone in my life, however, as I mentioned above, I am usually griefed, at least once a session, whenever I play. I don’t even use the "taunt" button half as much as I should (once every few games, if that). Second of all, despite wanting to (in some of my weaker moments, of course), I have never, ever had my mic on publicly. Never.
Which brings me to an important question… How do they know??? See, I am THE WORST trash talker ever. Seriously. The things that come from this mouth would make a dockhand blush. It’s not pretty, but it’s a hobby I share with some of my friends. We get into a party, join a match, and then unleash a foul torrent of unspeakable, if not downright anatomically impossible profanity. Racism? Bad. Sexism and homophobia? Bad. But no orifice is spared by our putrid stream of colorful filth. Thing is, what happens in party chat, stays in party chat. I would never tolerate that from any player that is not my friend, and I would be absolutely mortified if any stranger playing against me were to overhear it.
This whole affair has made me so paranoid that I even had to confirm with Xbox support to make sure that there’s no way my party chat can be overheard. It also took me to the internet at large, where again and again I saw complaints about the system being useless, since it allows sore losers to downvote players for fictional bad behavior, hurting their overall reputation score. Even the direct response from Xbox linked above implies that the reputation system is ripe for abuse. In fact, most of what I saw online indicated that the better you are at the games you play online, the more likely you are to receive negative feedback. Given that I’ve been on a merciless streak of kills and stuns, perhaps some people have gotten sick of seeing me at the top of their session leaderboard.
All this to say, haters gonna hate, and… I finally made it?
1) all my games are now represented itty bitty namby pamby little icons, floating in a sea of empty grey space? ugly. #xbla @xbox
2) there is more cheesy stock photography of happy @xbox users than there is relevant personalized content. #xbla [NOTE: this seems to have gotten better once I signed in]
3) the achievement display is horrid. in fact, the entire avatar/user section is poorly conceived, & feels like an afterthought. #xbla @xbox
4) the windowpane navigation suuucks when you’re using a controller. i guess that was the point? #headscratch #xbla @xbox
5) the #xbla social panel only shows ONE friend online at a time? what’s the point? all or nothing, @xbox.
6) especially in the marketplace, having each window scream colors and info and prices and stuff is garish and offputting. #xbla @xbox