Fifty Levels of Hell, Tom McShea and the Cement Injected Behind.

Back in August, HolyHackZack asked when it was too late to get into a game's online multiplayer. I'd responded that, unless you're on the ground floor for the first game in a series, the game is impenetrable. My exact quote:

Honestly? For traditional multiplayer? You're dealing with a majority of people who have been playing their whole lives and are unwilling to help new folks. The skill stratification is cripplingly clear. Unless you're just playing in private with friends of the same skill, there's really no reason to get into competitive multiplayer. That's been my experience, anyway.

In response, DrChimp said that I "sound like a quitter." I'll admit that it got to me. I don't consider myself the type to give up on games easily, even if I don't have fun in the first 30 minutes. I think it's important to give every game a shot. However, what if I wasn't giving enough of a shot? I thought about that for a while. I didn't let it consume me, mind, but it was in the back of my mind.

Then Modern Warfare 3 came out. I waited at my local Gamestop for the midnight launch (360 version), but this time, instead of waiting to complete the single player to try out the multiplayer, I went to the multiplayer that night. While I did eventually get through the (highly enjoyable) single player and try out the co-op, I've spent more time on this game's multiplayer than I have in any Call of Duty game, and indeed, in any game's multiplayer at all. Days and weeks of dedicated play have slowly, painstakingly taken me to level 50, and I've fully unlocked all the attachments for one of the LMGs.

I also feel like I haven't really improved much.

This isn't to say that every match has been a misery. I've had a few better-than-normal outings, and the support package helps to at least give me some cool things to add to the overall battle. More recently, I've unlocked the Stinger, which makes blowing up UAVs and attack choppers nice and easy. However, most of the time, I don't feel like a valuable member of a team. Instead, I feel like a bullet catcher. I play around with the controller sensitivity, but nothing feels good. I move around, I get shot up. I camp, I get ambushed. I find high ground, I get shot through the railing or have a cooked grenade I didn't see coming blow me up before the danger indicator even shows up. The radar is about as useless as it comes, as it's strictly 2D and lacks distinguishing features, and the delay in relaying where enemies are is way too big, even with UAVs in the sky. This is to say nothing of getting the occasional Juggernaut that just toys with you on its way to take a Domination point or plant a bomb I'm trying to defend.

Now I know some of the people here reading are going to think I'm a whiner, and maybe they're right, but damn it, it's my blog and I'll cry if I want to. The point is that I've spent most of this month trying to figure this damned game out, and nothing. Of course, the vile, disgusting people I'm usually teamed up with make the prospect of support and guidance impossible, but that's not the real issue. My experience with Modern Warfare 3 have echoed my experience with every other multiplayer game I've tried: the rich get richer, and the poor get screwed sideways.

Now I want to make something absolutely clear, so there's no mistake: I do not hold it against the high-level CoD players at all. The ones kicking ass and taking names clearly have a talent that I can only admire from a distance. However, the severe skill stratification that occurs within weeks of a franchise launching presents an enormous barrier to new players, and layering systems on top of systems does little to alleviate the problem. I'm not even sure there's anything that can be done - I remember my first game, that launch morning, seeing people at Lv. 70 and up, so matchmaking went right out the window, at least for now. I think I can now safely make peace with myself and say that I will never be anything more than a bottom-feeder in multiplayer games. I don't have the talent and the obsessive devotion to play them to the exclusion of all else that is clearly necessary (like any highly-competitive activity, it's not just here).

Will I keep playing? Maybe. I wanna see if I can prestige once before the end of the year. That'd be a cool little feather on my cap, being able to prestige for the first time ever. I doubt I'll reach that goal, but maybe, just maybe, something will click. And if not, I'm sure you all will make fun of me. *laughs*

Moving on, it's time to talk reviews. Or rather, one review. As you all know, The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword just came out recently, and most reviewers are raving about it in the typical Nintendo Free Pass way. All except one. GameSpot's Tom McShea reviewed the game, giving it a 7.5. Here's the video review for those of you that haven't seen it.

As you can imagine, the internet has exploded. The response, both on Youtube and on GameSpot itself has been remarkably less than kind. Here are some choice examples of the wonderfully balanced and rational banter being strewn about.

cmdrdredd

Posted Nov 21, 2011 12:25 am ET

Gamespot are Xbox fanboys anyway. Look at the scores they give to the highly anticipated Xbox 360 games then compare that to everything else.

bluepuppy82

Posted Nov 20, 2011 10:54 pm ET

7.5? Are you smoking crack?

TheZeroPercent

Posted Nov 20, 2011 7:38 pm ET

down with mcshea !!!

down with mcshea !!!

re-review !!!

re-review !!!

Yep, fanboys got their panties all in a bunch. It brings to mind Jeff's 8.8 for Twilight Princess back in the day. For those of you who don't remember, come with me on the wayback machine.

That got a ton of flack back then too.

GrimGravy

Posted Sep 24, 2008 11:50 pm ET (hide)

gald he is not on gamespot anymore horrid review

cyduck97

Posted Dec 29, 2008 5:45 pm ET

biased, simply biased

megagamer55

Posted Nov 6, 2008 4:39 pm ET

what is he talking about? has he even played the game?? this game defedently deserved at least a 9.5! this game is one of the best games ive ever played in my life!!!

Yep, the fanboys were in top form even in '08, two years after the game's '06 release. So where does this leave us in 2011? Apparently in the same damned place. The problem seems to be this notion in many people's heads that the review community doesn't exist to deliver their own opinions, but to justify the opinion that is popular amongst the ardent fans. There also seems to be this odd obsession with clubbing anyone who deviates from the Metacritic norm over the head like a seal. Particularly with highly-anticipated games like Zelda titles, this weird desire to attack anyone who dares to hold an unpopular opinion. Now I understand why people do this - fanboys read reviews not for buying advice, but to affirm their own prejudices, much the same reason a conservative would watch Fox News or a liberal would watch MSNBC. Society has devalued the notion of fairness and has retreated once more into warring factions, and the discussion of nearly any topic for which there is potential for differing opinions often resulting in shrill shouting and closed minds, regardless of what points might make sense coming from the opposition. The internet, with its many myriad echo chambers, has only exacerbated the destruction of civilized discourse in global society.

What makes me shake my head in wonder is that all this effort is being put into video game reviews. No kidding, there are 3375 comments over on GameStop's page for the video review, the vast majority incensed and indignant in a manner that should really only be reserved for life-or-death issues, and I doubt this is the only forum they've gone nuts on. In the few days since the review came out, I'm sure there have been people spending more time complaining than I have getting to level 50 in Modern Warfare 3, and that's actually rather frightening. People, come the hell ON. It's fucking video games. It's one guy saying that the game is good (7.5 on GameSpot's scale is a good game), and people are acting like he's telling everyone to run away screaming from it. Weren't we the same people railing on GameSpot when Gerstmann got fired over his Kane & Lynch review? Personally, in the years since, I've become quite impressed at the housecleaning they've done over there. I dare say they've become a respectable site again. As such, I can respect McShea's opinion. Hell, it's ballsy of him to not shower mindless praise on the game the way some have, and actually talk at length about his actual experiences. How can we expect honest reviews if we keep punishing honest reviewers?

Anyway, let's finish off this generally depressing post with a little bit of light-hearted laughing at dumbasses. Apparently a stripper thought it would be a good idea to get silicone injections in her rear end from an unlicensed practitioner in a hotel room. As you can imagine, it didn't turn out well for her.

The stripper recalled that “Kim” assured her that “she used medical silicone for the injections.” The silicone, she told agents, was stored in an unmarked “water jug with a spigot.” For each injection, “Kim” poured the silicone “into a cup and from the cup Kim used a needle and syringe to draw the silicone which Kim injected into the buttocks.”

The Baltimore woman told agents that she paid $1000 for each silicone injection, procedures that were performed on the bed in a room at the Renaissance Hotel. Two days after her final treatment in March, the stripper became ill and was treated at The Johns Hopkins Hospital for pneumonia. She was also diagnosed with fluid on her lungs.

The dancer was subsequently admitted to a second hospital, where she was treated with blood thinners to alleviate clots. “A CAT scan was conducted and silicone was found on the sides and bottom of the victim’s lungs,” reported Agent Ekey.

Now, barring the obvious question of how an ass injection ends up with stuff in her lungs of all places, what is it with people getting medical work done by some quack in a hotel room? And from crazy ass people like this?

Seriously, Darwin Awards just waiting to happen...

3 Comments
4 Comments
Posted by YukoAsho

Back in August, HolyHackZack asked when it was too late to get into a game's online multiplayer. I'd responded that, unless you're on the ground floor for the first game in a series, the game is impenetrable. My exact quote:

Honestly? For traditional multiplayer? You're dealing with a majority of people who have been playing their whole lives and are unwilling to help new folks. The skill stratification is cripplingly clear. Unless you're just playing in private with friends of the same skill, there's really no reason to get into competitive multiplayer. That's been my experience, anyway.

In response, DrChimp said that I "sound like a quitter." I'll admit that it got to me. I don't consider myself the type to give up on games easily, even if I don't have fun in the first 30 minutes. I think it's important to give every game a shot. However, what if I wasn't giving enough of a shot? I thought about that for a while. I didn't let it consume me, mind, but it was in the back of my mind.

Then Modern Warfare 3 came out. I waited at my local Gamestop for the midnight launch (360 version), but this time, instead of waiting to complete the single player to try out the multiplayer, I went to the multiplayer that night. While I did eventually get through the (highly enjoyable) single player and try out the co-op, I've spent more time on this game's multiplayer than I have in any Call of Duty game, and indeed, in any game's multiplayer at all. Days and weeks of dedicated play have slowly, painstakingly taken me to level 50, and I've fully unlocked all the attachments for one of the LMGs.

I also feel like I haven't really improved much.

This isn't to say that every match has been a misery. I've had a few better-than-normal outings, and the support package helps to at least give me some cool things to add to the overall battle. More recently, I've unlocked the Stinger, which makes blowing up UAVs and attack choppers nice and easy. However, most of the time, I don't feel like a valuable member of a team. Instead, I feel like a bullet catcher. I play around with the controller sensitivity, but nothing feels good. I move around, I get shot up. I camp, I get ambushed. I find high ground, I get shot through the railing or have a cooked grenade I didn't see coming blow me up before the danger indicator even shows up. The radar is about as useless as it comes, as it's strictly 2D and lacks distinguishing features, and the delay in relaying where enemies are is way too big, even with UAVs in the sky. This is to say nothing of getting the occasional Juggernaut that just toys with you on its way to take a Domination point or plant a bomb I'm trying to defend.

Now I know some of the people here reading are going to think I'm a whiner, and maybe they're right, but damn it, it's my blog and I'll cry if I want to. The point is that I've spent most of this month trying to figure this damned game out, and nothing. Of course, the vile, disgusting people I'm usually teamed up with make the prospect of support and guidance impossible, but that's not the real issue. My experience with Modern Warfare 3 have echoed my experience with every other multiplayer game I've tried: the rich get richer, and the poor get screwed sideways.

Now I want to make something absolutely clear, so there's no mistake: I do not hold it against the high-level CoD players at all. The ones kicking ass and taking names clearly have a talent that I can only admire from a distance. However, the severe skill stratification that occurs within weeks of a franchise launching presents an enormous barrier to new players, and layering systems on top of systems does little to alleviate the problem. I'm not even sure there's anything that can be done - I remember my first game, that launch morning, seeing people at Lv. 70 and up, so matchmaking went right out the window, at least for now. I think I can now safely make peace with myself and say that I will never be anything more than a bottom-feeder in multiplayer games. I don't have the talent and the obsessive devotion to play them to the exclusion of all else that is clearly necessary (like any highly-competitive activity, it's not just here).

Will I keep playing? Maybe. I wanna see if I can prestige once before the end of the year. That'd be a cool little feather on my cap, being able to prestige for the first time ever. I doubt I'll reach that goal, but maybe, just maybe, something will click. And if not, I'm sure you all will make fun of me. *laughs*

Moving on, it's time to talk reviews. Or rather, one review. As you all know, The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword just came out recently, and most reviewers are raving about it in the typical Nintendo Free Pass way. All except one. GameSpot's Tom McShea reviewed the game, giving it a 7.5. Here's the video review for those of you that haven't seen it.

As you can imagine, the internet has exploded. The response, both on Youtube and on GameSpot itself has been remarkably less than kind. Here are some choice examples of the wonderfully balanced and rational banter being strewn about.

cmdrdredd

Posted Nov 21, 2011 12:25 am ET

Gamespot are Xbox fanboys anyway. Look at the scores they give to the highly anticipated Xbox 360 games then compare that to everything else.

bluepuppy82

Posted Nov 20, 2011 10:54 pm ET

7.5? Are you smoking crack?

TheZeroPercent

Posted Nov 20, 2011 7:38 pm ET

down with mcshea !!!

down with mcshea !!!

re-review !!!

re-review !!!

Yep, fanboys got their panties all in a bunch. It brings to mind Jeff's 8.8 for Twilight Princess back in the day. For those of you who don't remember, come with me on the wayback machine.

That got a ton of flack back then too.

GrimGravy

Posted Sep 24, 2008 11:50 pm ET (hide)

gald he is not on gamespot anymore horrid review

cyduck97

Posted Dec 29, 2008 5:45 pm ET

biased, simply biased

megagamer55

Posted Nov 6, 2008 4:39 pm ET

what is he talking about? has he even played the game?? this game defedently deserved at least a 9.5! this game is one of the best games ive ever played in my life!!!

Yep, the fanboys were in top form even in '08, two years after the game's '06 release. So where does this leave us in 2011? Apparently in the same damned place. The problem seems to be this notion in many people's heads that the review community doesn't exist to deliver their own opinions, but to justify the opinion that is popular amongst the ardent fans. There also seems to be this odd obsession with clubbing anyone who deviates from the Metacritic norm over the head like a seal. Particularly with highly-anticipated games like Zelda titles, this weird desire to attack anyone who dares to hold an unpopular opinion. Now I understand why people do this - fanboys read reviews not for buying advice, but to affirm their own prejudices, much the same reason a conservative would watch Fox News or a liberal would watch MSNBC. Society has devalued the notion of fairness and has retreated once more into warring factions, and the discussion of nearly any topic for which there is potential for differing opinions often resulting in shrill shouting and closed minds, regardless of what points might make sense coming from the opposition. The internet, with its many myriad echo chambers, has only exacerbated the destruction of civilized discourse in global society.

What makes me shake my head in wonder is that all this effort is being put into video game reviews. No kidding, there are 3375 comments over on GameStop's page for the video review, the vast majority incensed and indignant in a manner that should really only be reserved for life-or-death issues, and I doubt this is the only forum they've gone nuts on. In the few days since the review came out, I'm sure there have been people spending more time complaining than I have getting to level 50 in Modern Warfare 3, and that's actually rather frightening. People, come the hell ON. It's fucking video games. It's one guy saying that the game is good (7.5 on GameSpot's scale is a good game), and people are acting like he's telling everyone to run away screaming from it. Weren't we the same people railing on GameSpot when Gerstmann got fired over his Kane & Lynch review? Personally, in the years since, I've become quite impressed at the housecleaning they've done over there. I dare say they've become a respectable site again. As such, I can respect McShea's opinion. Hell, it's ballsy of him to not shower mindless praise on the game the way some have, and actually talk at length about his actual experiences. How can we expect honest reviews if we keep punishing honest reviewers?

Anyway, let's finish off this generally depressing post with a little bit of light-hearted laughing at dumbasses. Apparently a stripper thought it would be a good idea to get silicone injections in her rear end from an unlicensed practitioner in a hotel room. As you can imagine, it didn't turn out well for her.

The stripper recalled that “Kim” assured her that “she used medical silicone for the injections.” The silicone, she told agents, was stored in an unmarked “water jug with a spigot.” For each injection, “Kim” poured the silicone “into a cup and from the cup Kim used a needle and syringe to draw the silicone which Kim injected into the buttocks.”

The Baltimore woman told agents that she paid $1000 for each silicone injection, procedures that were performed on the bed in a room at the Renaissance Hotel. Two days after her final treatment in March, the stripper became ill and was treated at The Johns Hopkins Hospital for pneumonia. She was also diagnosed with fluid on her lungs.

The dancer was subsequently admitted to a second hospital, where she was treated with blood thinners to alleviate clots. “A CAT scan was conducted and silicone was found on the sides and bottom of the victim’s lungs,” reported Agent Ekey.

Now, barring the obvious question of how an ass injection ends up with stuff in her lungs of all places, what is it with people getting medical work done by some quack in a hotel room? And from crazy ass people like this?

Seriously, Darwin Awards just waiting to happen...

Posted by Gruff182

@pulpfiction said:

Gamespot gave Twilight Princess an 8.8 yet Skyward gets a 7.5? makes no sense dude. Unless they can explain to me why Twilight Princess deserves 1.3 more than Skyward Sword, then there is no explanation.

Links ears are 1.3 points better in Twilight Princess, duh.

What are you, stupid?

Posted by Ravenlight

Prop tips:

  • Stop playing a game if you don't like it
  • Avoid reading comments on pretty much anything on the internet

Doing both of these things will lower your blood pressure and make you a happier person.

Posted by mpgeist

Life is too short to worry about this shit.