News

Defending The Bait-and-Switch

We didn’t design this as a “pay to play” or “pay to win” game. It is designed as a free-to-play title where players can commit time or money towards their play experience, and every piece of content in the game is accessible without having to spend a dime.

So what could you pay for in the game, then? If you’d like, you can pay to expedite wait times, dig times, unit production and upgrades, cosmetic enhancements, and bolster defenses for a period of time.

Jeff Skalski, senior producer of the execrable bait-and-switch, pay-to-play new iOS version of the venerable Dungeon Keeper, valiantly attempts to defend the indefensible.

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Levels Of Detail Podcast: Technical Peccadilloes Edition

Games and Gaming, News

We return after holidays, work, and the inevitable technical breakdowns, but we persevere to bring you another podcast! This week, we discuss the impossible: Minecraft goes 1.0, the unfortunate: GSC Game Studios and GamePro fold, and the stupid: EA continues their über-ban policy, parents name their kid after a character in Skyrim, Telltale gets caught sockpuppeting user reviews of Jurassic Park: The Game and Ars Technica’s Ben Kuchera supports them, the International Red Cross opens their mouths to say that video games might be a war crime, the other shoe drops on the Playstation Vita, Microsoft makes you sign away your right to class-action lawsuits, and Skyward Sword has an unfixable game-breaking bug. And you wonder where our sunny disposition comes from. Please, Share and Enjoy.

LOD Podcast Episode 40 (12/10/11)

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Levels Of Detail Podcast: Who Are You People Edition (11.02.11)

Games and Gaming, News

After a long absence, we have returned! Work and life may interfere, but nothing will stop us from nattering inanely into your earholes about beer! And games! Always with games.

After reviewing what we’ve been doing while we’ve been away, we dive right into the news with descriptions of the new Portal 2 Puzzle Creator, Battlefield 3 sells 5 million units in the first week and simultaneously destroys my faith in humanity and sets EA up for massive disappointment when Modern Warfare 3 inevitably sells that much in a day, the most unexpected Halloween special DLC pack we’ve ever seen, Blizzard jumps the shark and steps in it, and more, in this week’s hopefully final return of the Levels Of Detail Podcast. Please, Share and Enjoy.

LOD Podcast Episode 38 (11/02/11)

Intro Music: Caravan Palace – Crash

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Levels Of Detail Podcast: We’re Horrible, Horrible People Edition (09.15.11)

Games and Gaming, News

And once again, we return to you belatedly and with sadness in our hearts. Real life stupidly keeps on intruding into our efforts to bring you our particular brand of meaningless babble, and so here we are. This week, we cover such late-breaking news as Ubisoft removing the DRM from From Dust, freeing us to wonder why you would want to buy the game in the first place, EA continues making up for lost time with their dickery, the PC is resurgent while Nintendo continues to watch the bottom fall out of their business models, and we promote two things worthwhile: One, a pre-release beta of Minecraft‘s 1.8 Adventure release (which, due to our timeliness, is already out officially), and a Kickstarter donation page for the NASA astronaut sim MMO game, which is still ongoing and can be found here. Please, go forth and donate to a worthy cause, and remember to Share and Enjoy.

LOD Podcast Episode 37 (09/15/11)

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Levels Of Detail Podcast: Imposition of Regularity Edition

Games and Gaming, News

For reasons that are entirely unknown at this juncture, the podcast is going up a day late. Still, after enjoying the last blast of vacation before the end of summer, we’ve got a decent amount of news, both good and bad, to share with you today. The full majesty of EA’s idiotic plans with Battlefield 3 have become manifest, Ubisoft pisses off just about everyone, Epic Games hints at a return to PC-focused development, Sony decides to make the Playstation Vita possibly worth owning, and Bethesda decides they own all the scrolls. Plus, a very timely review of Fallout: New Vegas. Please, Share and Enjoy.

LOD Podcast Episode 36 (08/24/11)

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Levels Of Detail Podcast: Easily Distracted Edition (08.04.11)

Games and Gaming, News, Retrospectives

We’re back from vacation this week, and as a consequence, we’re a little…loopy, and not just from our customary alcoholic beverages. Many tangents are had, odd routes followed, and a higher-than-average amount of movie references made, especially for an episode where so much actual news is imparted. Defense of the Ancients 2 will be revealed to the world at Gamescom in Cologne, the Humble Indie Bundle 3 is here, Australia makes serious steps towards an R18+ rating, and everyone decided to be stupid while we were gone, with Blizzard basically sticking a knife into the heart of their fanbase for Diablo 3, Ubisoft returning to always-on DRM for Driver: San Francisco and more, EA getting Dragon Age 2 pulled from Steam with their “me-first-gimmie-gimmie” approach to DLC, and Nintendo almost halves the price of the 3DS in an attempt to get people to buy their newest shiny toy. Please, Share and Enjoy.

LOD Podcast Episode 35 (08/04/11)

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Levels Of Detail Podcast: Tranquility Edition (07.18.11)

Games and Gaming, News, Retrospectives

We’re still a little tuckered out after last week’s rage-fueled barreling beast of a podcast, so this week, we decided that there wouldn’t be anything important announced. A fearful gaming industry obliged, and so we present to you a much more low-key, some would almost say sedate podcast. We do follow-up on the horrible, awful things that induced such anger last week (but in a much more calm and relaxed manner), Manhunt 2 goes not exactly into the West, but wherever awful exploitation games go, Planetside 2 becomes more interesting as a possible free-to-play game, EA buys Popcap Games, a cool bit of news about the upcoming Halo: Combat Evolved re-release, we mock poorly written product announcements, and the crew behind The Escapist’s Extra Credits series decide to do something awesome with the enormous pile of money they suddenly find themselves sitting on. Thank you, and please, Share and Enjoy.

LOD Podcast Episode 34 (07/18/11)

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Levels Of Detail Podcast: Bad Words Edition (07.07.11)

Games and Gaming, News, Retrospectives

I, personally, choose to believe that we are all capable of being decent human beings at any time, and that corporations which are smart enough to make a serious impact on the world around us are also smart enough to not intentionally sabotage their own efforts, products, or customers. I also realize that people are jerks to each other for little or no reason a lot of the time, and that corporations can and will choose short-term gains over long-term profits and security almost every single time. You can imagine what this does to my temperament, something which is on full display in this week’s podcast, as last week’s relatively bad news free status is drastically reversed.

Some good news does make it under the wire, Crysis is coming to consoles, CCP decides that screwing their Eve Online customers isn’t such a good idea, the Extra Credits drive to help their artist keep making art was a success beyond their wildest expectations, and I have new hope for a good video game movie as details for a Mass Effect film surface with a pretty decent writer and production company attached to the project. On the bad news front, Team Fortress 2 players are determined to show new players on the free-to-play accounts that they’re not welcome around these parts, and EA continues their charge to be more hated than Activision. Please, put the little ones in the other room and then Share and Enjoy.

LOD Podcast Episode 33 (07/07/11)

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Levels Of Detail Podcast: Gently Caress Everything Edition (06.22.11)

Games and Gaming, News

Well, today’s podcast would have come online earlier today, but due to a bewildering array of extenuating circumstances, it’s going up late. My frustrating day certainly matches the tone of the news we have for this week, what with EA deciding to retake their Asshole Crown and the gamer bitchfest about every decision made by any game company reaching deafening levels of volume. There was some good news as well, Valve is taking one of their games free-to-play, Al Gore backs gaming as a legit medium, and Microsoft released the Kinect SDK beta. So, please, Share and Enjoy; I’m going to get drunk.

LOD Podcast Episode 31 (06/22/11)

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Levels Of Detail Podcast: The Great E3 Wasteland Edition (06.15.11)

Games and Gaming, News

Well, E3 has come and gone, and has brought mostly a load of uncertainty and disappointment along with it. We find a few gems worth highlighting in the coverage, and cover some non-E3 related gaming news as well, including the announcement of a Blackwater tactical shooter (yes, the PMC), Lulzsec proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that their membership is almost entirely still in puberty, the prerequisite boycott for the debut of the next marquee shooter begins, and EA decides that they’d rather you not buy their games anymore. All this and more on this new episode of the Levels Of Detail Podcast! Please, Share and Enjoy.

LOD Podcast Episode 30 (06/15/11)

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Are You Stupid, Or Do You Think We Are?

Features, Games and Gaming

This is the story of three cynical, greedy gaming cashgrabs. It is a story of bad design decisions, terrible PR and expectation management, treating customers with contempt, and ample lashings of just plain stupidity. In it, we learn what not to do, how not to do it, and we lose faith in at least one company that really ought to know better.

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Levels Of Detail Podcast: Golden Ticket Edition (03.30.2011)

Games and Gaming, News

No, it sadly isn’t a real Golden Ticket to Valve’s headquarters, but listener Katrel was nice enough to make it for us after our opining last week (he tells us he found it in a “box” of Portal 2), which takes the sting away a little. Thanks, Katrel!

This week has been slow for the gaming industry, allowing us to bring you all the news that is fit for your eagerly awaiting ears. We cover things like hacker troubles in Zynga-land, the state of PC ports, and how Nintendo is managing to mess up a product that is selling out anyways, as well as Metacritic’s lose-lose developer ratings system.

For feedback, complaints, and suggestions, hit us up at LODpodcast@LevelsOfDetail.com. If you’re listening to us via iTunes, please review us so we aren’t so sad and lonely.

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Levels Of Detail Podcast: My Inferior Fleshy Human Frame Edition (12.10.10)

Games and Gaming, News

The blatant inferiority of my biological existence has been made manifest. As I am made of wet flesh and fragile bone instead of strong, sleek, superior titanium, carbon fiber and electroactive polymer, I rolled and broke my ankle yesterday. This inevitable failing of my organic body has delayed the podcast by a day, something that will never occur again. As I write this, the weak analog uncertainty of flesh is giving way to the cold precision of machine, ensuring the podcast will never be delayed again. By this, at least. I make no promises for busy work, college insanity, and general laziness.

This week, we have the Parade of Stupid Company Executive Comments, we lament the sad passing of Raven Software’s independence and Warren Spector’s credibility as a game designer, and talk about two upcoming action/adventure game franchises involving tombs and the raiding thereof. Also, here’s a link to that YouTube video showing off just how realistic Gran Turismo 5 is.

LOD Podcast Episode 6 (12/10/10)

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Spore spawns action-RPG spin-off: Darkspore

Games and Gaming, News

Darkspore is a much darker take on the evolution game pioneered in Spore, a game that got mixed reception – not least over its intrusive DRM activation. In addition to the thematic change, Darkspore will also see a drastic change in terms of gameplay. EA describes the game as “online, science-fiction action role-playing game.” This includes up to four-way co-op and multiplayer. Players will take on the role of a genetically altered creature that can be customized by collecting various body parts and armor found throughout the game.
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EA loses its grip?

News

A press release by QUICKHIT reveals that EA’s “exclusive” licensing deal with the NFL (set to run out in 2012) may not be all that exclusive after all.  Perhaps the NFL tires of EA?  Perhaps the NFL 2K series might return?  Perhaps pigs will fly to the moon?  Will this post look good when I submit it?  All these questions and more will be answered on the next episode of … THE PHASENING.