Good read. As a casual Magic fan, I found this info interesting and informative.
Savage's forum posts
MGS 2 wasn't highly praised at the time it came out. But it's praised now because people are finally understanding that the game was a giant play on player expectations and it was a novel concept.
MGS 2 got massive praise when it first came out. It's the 35th highest rated game of all time on Metacritic with a 96, the highest score of any Metal Gear game.
In a nutshell:
Microsoft indicated in a long since deleted post on an Age of Empires Online support page that they would be closing down GFWL as of July 1, 2014, as well as the Xbox Marketplace on PC. They did eliminate the GFWL Marketplace afterwards, but the basic GFWL matchmaking service is still up and running. The only other thing Microsoft has said was in June, 2014, when they issued a statement saying that GFWL would remain running for the foreseeable future. Many games have been updated by their publishers since word spread of GFWL's demise to replace GFWL with Steamworks. Bandai Namco, the publisher of Dark Souls, has only said they're looking into the matter, and that was many months ago. Dark Souls is still playable on PC with GFWL today. Even in the worst case of GFWL being fully terminated and Dark Souls never getting any update, the game would still be playable in Offline Mode, though any pre-existing savegames made under an online GFWL profile may be lost.
Fast-paced multiplayer games like shooters use game state interpolation to compensate for the inherent delays and hiccups in internet traffic.This means the game approximates things like the positions and actions of other players in your game based on information from moments earlier while your game is still waiting to get up to date information. Without this kind of interpolation, the game would only update other players' states when your game received an update from the server. Because there are gaps of time between these updates, without interpolation, other players would appear to freeze momentarily between each update, making their motion and actions appear very jittery, ruining the smooth feel that is necessary for a fast action game to be fun.
The downside to using interpolation is that when you interact with other players, you're not actually interacting with them in their true current state. Interpolation generally will show you the state of other players in the recent past while you get to act in the present, so you're ahead of them in the server's 'timeline'. The same is true for each of them as they see you and everyone else in the recent past relative to themselves. This means you can have situations where you see an enemy player (in the past), so you attack them and your game shows that you killed them. Meanwhile, they see you (in the past) and attack you and their game shows that they killed you. After a few moments, you each receive more current updates from the server indicating that you each recorded a kill on the other one, resulting in a cross-kill.
As for why this is occurrence might be more common on consoles than on PC, I would guess it's because console games transmit updates less frequently than PC games do, so the effects of interpolation are more pronounced. The reason for less frequent updates probably has to do with trying to achieve a uniform gameplay experience regardless of internet connection quality by equalizing everyone at a low update rate. On PC, variation in connection quality and hardware quality have long been accepted, so interpolation can be scaled more as circumstances dictate. In some games, including Valve's games, you can even set your update rate and other interpolation settings manually with console commands.
I like to strive to finish the games I play, even ones that are mildly disappointing or have mixed appeal. However, I won't hesitate to drop a game in which I find nothing appealing. I'll just list franchises comprised of at least 3 main games--keeps the list shorter and stronger.
Off the top of my head I can think of:
- Metal Gear Solid
- Diablo (including all expansion packs)
- F.E.A.R. (including all expansion packs)
- Max Payne
- Dead Space
- Far Cry
- Mass Effect (including all of the major DLC)
And my biggest one:
- Command & Conquer (including C&C 1, C&C 2, C&C 3, C&C 4, RA 1, RA 2, RA 3, Generals, Renegade, and every single expansion pack)
If I was building a character like this, I'd start as a Swordsman since they have reasonable initial stats, playstyle, and gear for this type of build. I'd aim to quickly acquire something like a pair of shortswords and a shortbow to complete my initial weapon set. The Swordsman receives 1 free shortsword at the start of the game and another can be picked up very early on in the Forest. A shortbow can be found pretty early in Lenigrast's shop or dropped by early bow-using enemies.
For leveling stats, I'd first make sure my STR and DEX were sufficient to dual-wield my weapons of choice. (Remember that you need to exceed a weapon's STR and DEX requirements by at least 50% to dual-wield it.) I'd then get my ADP up to 20 to give me some decent survivability. That would be the bare necessities for getting the character rolling. Over time, I'd drops points here and there into VGR and END, but not raising either higher than 20. I'd get ADP up to 30 for even better dodging, and of course STR and DEX up just enough to meet the dual-wielding requirements for new weapons I'd want to use.
I would entirely ignore VIT (as Rangers don't wear heavy armor) and INT. Maybe after reaching a relatively high level, I'd begin to bump FTH up a little and get 16 ATN to mirror a Ranger's late and limited spell gain.
I want some one to mod Dark Souls so you can ... play with your friends.
I want to say there are mods out there that do that in some form?
There's a mod called DSCfix (Dark Souls Connectivity Fix) that does this. You can download it here: http://www.nexusmods.com/darksouls/mods/334/
The basic idea is that first you add your desired multiplayer buddies to your GFWL friends list, then the mod will front-load all of them into your multiplayer matchmaking process, so that you'll be connected to all of them immediately before the game even begins its normal random matchmaking.
If you've never played one of the Infinity Engine games before (i.e. Icewind Dale 1& 2, Baldur's Gate 1&2, or Planescape Torment), but want to try out that old style of RPG, I would recommend instead playing Divinity: Original Sin or just waiting for Pillars of Eternity. They keep much of the good stuff from the old RPGs, such as deep character building, challenging tactical combat, expansive worlds filled with things to discover, and lots of writing that's fun to read. They also modernize the interfaces and rework/remove some of the weaker parts of the design of old D&D RPGs, like reliance on pre-buffing (casting tons of buff spells before fights), fighters with no skills to use in combat, and other stuff.
Although I've now played and finished all of the IE games, myself, I wasn't able to really get into and enjoy them until I had a pretty good understanding of the D&D rules. All of the games use the 2nd Edition ruleset, with Icewind Dale 2 incorporating some parts of 3rd Edition and Planescape Torment mixing in some new rules of its own.