Editor's Blog (last updated: 5 March)

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Re: Editor's Blog (last updated: 18 February)

Unread postby Artful-dodgeR » 28 Feb 13, 6:25 pm

Shire folk will always be the lowest. I grew up in Pymble so we North Shore people clearly > *.

And maybe we should do a piss up in the city some time? Who'd be up for that?
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Re: Editor's Blog (last updated: 05 March)

Unread postby Tim Colwill » 5 Mar 13, 6:35 am

I would!

NEW UPDATE: 05 MARCH

You probably have some questions. Let me address them.

Where is your Tomb Raider review?

At the moment, there's a PC copy of Tomb Raider sitting a few feet away on my desk. It won't work until the Steam servers unlock for everybody else.

Eidos have variously promised us download codes (that are supposed to work ahead of Steam unlock) and codes that would unlock this physical copy ahead of Steam unlock. Neither of these things have been able to happen, so... at the end of the day, we're going to be popping it in the disc tray and playing it on PC the same day as you.

We could have played it on console aaaaages ago and given you our thoughts, but that's not really how a PC gaming site should work. So. We wait.

It is bizarre for Eidos/Square Enix to end up in this situation as the last games that they've released for PC have, generally, been pretty great. So it makes me feel a bit wary, but we'll see.

Where is your SimCity review?

EA offered us access to a 'review event' where we could play the game in their offices over the course of two days ahead of launch in order to have a review ready. This was the only way we would have been able to play the game ahead of launch.

I believe that this isn't indicative of the end-user's actual experience in a general household internet situation and, seeing as the title is so heavily online-only, I really think that needs to be taken into account in the final review. So we politely thanked EA but turned them down.

We've purchased our own copy and will be playing it on a regular home PC like normal, and connecting to the EA/Maxis servers like normal. This should allow us to give a review which more closely mirrors the experiences of the actual end-user. As such, like Tomb Raider, our SimCity review will be out post-launch.

Where is the Crysis 3/AMD winners announcement?

Going through these is taking a LOT longer than expected. The winner should be up before I go to bed tonight (if it takes all night!)

Did you know the Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag rumour was true and just pretended not to?

As you may have read on places like Kotaku many bigger games sites had already seen or even gone hands-on with Black Flag, and then when the poster was leaked, had to pretend that they didn't know whether or not it was real. This is pretty silly and dumb as all hell but that's basically the way NDAs work and at least, in Kotaku's case, the reporter writing on the rumour didn't know personally.

We were not one of the sites invited to a Black Flag preview event, and we did not know that it was 100% true when we reported it as a rumour (although it sure looked true, so I was pretty confident personally). I can't speak for other Australian sites, but it generally seems only larger US/UK sites were invited, as is fairly normal.
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Re: Editor's Blog (last updated: 05 March)

Unread postby Mekon » 5 Mar 13, 7:11 am

Tim Colwill wrote:EA offered us access to a 'review event' where we could play the game in their offices over the course of two days ahead of launch in order to have a review ready. This was the only way we would have been able to play the game ahead of launch.

I believe that this isn't indicative of the end-user's actual experience in a general household internet situation and, seeing as the title is so heavily online-only, I really think that needs to be taken into account in the final review. So we politely thanked EA but turned them down.

I'm not sure this makes a great deal of sense. The gameplay won't change between an EA environment and a home environment; the only difference will be in potential connectivity issues... which is largely time-based in the case of failing EA servers (and/or relevant to people with poor connections). Personally, I would have been interested in thoughts on the gameplay, with a potential follow-up article on server issues (if required) would have made more sense.

As it is, you've effectively thrown away a potential "exclusive" story, which is available elsewhere. I don't see the point.

edit: Best case, you'll be writing a story complaining about client-server issues at the same time as every other gamer **** about it. Worst case, everyone will be playing the game and you'll be playing catchup. Either way, the content will be redundant.
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Re: Editor's Blog (last updated: 5 March)

Unread postby Tim Colwill » 5 Mar 13, 7:17 am

Well we've already given our gameplay thoughts and follow-up connectivity thoughts during the beta. The actual gameplay experience isn't going to change hugely, and especially since the only real difference between the last beta a few weeks back and the launch product is the online connectivity.

I think an always-online game needs to be reviewed in a live environment, and especially if the series has just gone always-online for the first time and is super-contentious. Imagine if we'd reviewed Diablo III in a closed environment and then on launch day published our review saying "It's amazing, and super-stable! No connectivity errors at all."

Obviously we could amend the article if everything was terrible, but it's a bad look. I'd rather be late and comprehensive than early and amended.
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Re: Editor's Blog (last updated: 5 March)

Unread postby Artful-dodgeR » 5 Mar 13, 7:32 am

Plus, you have to admit, by now you'd either be buying it day 1 or waiting on reviews from a collection of websites...

At least that's how I see games these days.
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Re: Editor's Blog (last updated: 5 March)

Unread postby Mekon » 5 Mar 13, 7:34 am

Fair enough.

I guess it's just personal preference - if there is a game I intend to buy anyway, I prefer to hear about new information pre-release. Once it's in my hands... I'll be playing it myself, making any subsequent reviews fairly pointless - I'll be writing my own in my head as I play. :)

While it is contentious that the gaming industry uses gaming site previews as an extension of the publisher's marketing arm, it is what gets page hits... customers getting caught up in the hype, desperate for information. You can choose not to participate, but I believe it makes you less attractive, as people will just go elsewhere for the information.
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Re: Editor's Blog (last updated: 5 March)

Unread postby Tim Colwill » 5 Mar 13, 8:05 am

Mekon wrote:While it is contentious that the gaming industry uses gaming site previews as an extension of the publisher's marketing arm, it is what gets page hits... customers getting caught up in the hype, desperate for information. You can choose not to participate, but I believe it makes you less attractive, as people will just go elsewhere for the information.


They may well do that! Being first-to-print is important for a lot of sites, but I'm proud to say we're not one of them. :)
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Re: Editor's Blog (last updated: 5 March)

Unread postby Mekon » 5 Mar 13, 8:15 am

Tim Colwill wrote:Being first-to-print is important for a lot of sites, but I'm proud to say we're not one of them. :)

Indeed, GON has never been particularly timely (ever). :P

That said, since the latest revamp, much effort appears to have been put into increasing page hits and collecting the ensuing advertising income. So... mixed messages.
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Re: Editor's Blog (last updated: 5 March)

Unread postby Tim Colwill » 5 Mar 13, 8:30 am

Increasing page hits, sure, but not at the expensive of writing things that we -- or at least me, as editor -- believe are worth reading. That's a different kettle of fish.

And yeah, it's hard to be timely when you have a budget as small as ours, and you're competing with sites which have massive US presences which they can just syndicate stories from instantly. But we try!
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Re: Editor's Blog (last updated: 5 March)

Unread postby Artful-dodgeR » 5 Mar 13, 9:40 am

Well I for one am preferring the article style and amount recently, it does seem quite different to the usual sites I frequent and knowing the writing style here is quite nice.
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Re: Editor's Blog (last updated: 05 March)

Unread postby skitzor » 5 Mar 13, 9:42 am

interestingly enough, penny arcade have written something similar about Sim City's review conditions. although in their case, they reviewed the game and just put a disclaimer out telling everyone they aren't totally happy with the review.

http://penny-arcade.com/report/editoria ... ity-review

I think the important point is that it may demonstrate gameplay, but not the social features that will probably make the game a lot better.

how has the competition review process been? is it enjoyable?
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Re: Editor's Blog (last updated: 5 March)

Unread postby Tim Colwill » 5 Mar 13, 11:55 am

Artful-dodgeR wrote:Well I for one am preferring the article style and amount recently, it does seem quite different to the usual sites I frequent and knowing the writing style here is quite nice.


Thanks dude :)

skitzor wrote:interestingly enough, penny arcade have written something similar about Sim City's review conditions. although in their case, they reviewed the game and just put a disclaimer out telling everyone they aren't totally happy with the review.

http://penny-arcade.com/report/editoria ... ity-review

I think the important point is that it may demonstrate gameplay, but not the social features that will probably make the game a lot better.

how has the competition review process been? is it enjoyable?


Interesting stuff! Polygon did a similar thing also. Unlike these sites, we were not offered an alternative unfortunately, it was either 'play it in our offices' or 'play it once it's released'. Alas!

There are way too many entries in this competition. Curse our... popularity?
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Re: Editor's Blog (last updated: 5 March)

Unread postby Meapa » 5 Mar 13, 12:02 pm

Tim Colwill wrote:
There are way too many entries in this competition. Curse our... popularity?


I'd blame the promotion on Facebook! Somebody was promoting it, Can't remember who, All I know is that it had heaps of likes.. If I could, I would buy you a coffee but that's impossible :)

Good luck on it. You'll need it!


btw sorry if I'm not meant to post here. Not so sure about everything yet :)
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Re: Editor's Blog (last updated: 5 March)

Unread postby skitzor » 5 Mar 13, 1:03 pm

Tim Colwill wrote:Unlike these sites, we were not offered an alternative unfortunately, it was either 'play it in our offices' or 'play it once it's released'. Alas!

my impression was that they didn't have an alternative, they just reviewed the game under the dev's conditions and wrote something post-review.
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Re: Editor's Blog (last updated: 5 March)

Unread postby Mythor » 5 Mar 13, 2:50 pm

"their compromise of sending us review code to use on our home machines and to play for around five days was acceptable"
^ From the PA Report you linked. It's not explicitly stated but obviously this was pre-release if they have a review up already. They obviously have the clout to negotiate such things, but it might have been nice of EA to extend this offer to a few other places, because missing that first rush means reduced readership.

I'd far prefer timely (ie; prior or at release) reviews but if the publishers don't get the code to sites/publications in time then... it won't happen. Can't happen. If you can't find reviews anywhere pre-release, badger the publisher, not the review sites. ;)
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