Nobody Knows What the Future of Video Game Media Is


#1

It's an especially monday-feeling Monday, but that didn't stop Patrick, Austin, and myself from discussing our latest adventures. Patrick's playing Moss, a very cute VR game about the adventures of a mouse named Quill. Austin is all about Into the Breach, a mecha strategy game from the FTL developers. And I'm enjoying Where the Water Tastes Like Wine, but with a few disclaimers (like the fact that Austin did contract work on it). Then we take a dip into a serious, forward-looking question bucket.


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://waypoint.vice.com/en_us/article/gy8kg9/future-gaming-media-podcast

#2

Still don’t know what “fit” means in the context.


#3

A fit is an outfit.


#4
  1. From what I’ve seen of Where the Water Tastes Like Wine, it feels like the Mount and Blade overworld, it’s the telling of stories instead of battles and seeing how you can shift the landscape of a political world as the gameplay hook and I’m super into that.

  2. I hate myself. I had Photoshop open so here’s a fucking Denim Switch Axe.

Denimswitchaxe


#5

Alternate title: “If a Switch Axe wore jeans would it wear them like this?”


#6

Does Patrick’s PC disable his headphones while he’s talking on mic? It feels like there’s even more talking-over-each-other than usual in this episode. (Not a dig at the hosts, this is literally a problem I’ve had with some audio setups).

The discussion of Where The Water Taste Like Wine is really making me interested in this game. I didn’t realize that the game was actually an IF game in the style of 80 Days, Sunless Sea, etc. I guess the original trailer just left me kinda bewildered and not particularly interested, and didn’t really communicate anything about the game.

Also, Warframe is a kinda neat ninja parkour shooter hidden under an utterly incomprehensible mess of fractally-intersecting crafting systems. And I say this as someone who’s put 150 hours into Warframe. They literally add a new crafting system (or three) every year. The game does an utterly terrible job explaining any of the core systems to you (crafting, mods, damage types, weapon systems, warframe roles, etc.). Oh, and they rebalance or completely rework a major system after every few patches, so good luck googling any of this stuff without running into contradicting outdated info.
It’s extremely grindy (even more than Destiny or Mon Hun). You have to grind for hours just to craft the base version of a thing, then wait 48 hours for the crafting timer to tick down, then grind a few more days to craft the forma and potatoes that let you put decent mods on that thing, and then grind for a couple hundred hours to get the good mods and upgrade those mods. Unless the thing you want is locked behind “clan tech”, and then you need to grind, craft upgrades, and then instead of using those upgrades you sacrifice them to the clan to unlock the ability to buy the crafting recipes you need. Or if you wanted to craft a prime weapon, you need to grind a specific type of mission and hope that it drops the right crafting recipes.
And even the grind is so opaque that you have to dig through 3 different wikis and forum threads just to find out where to grind for argon catalyst orbs or whatever. And you’ll constantly be wondering if you’re grinding in a sub-optimal way, and if you should actually be playing Alert Missions, or running a boss fight over and over, or spend an hour grinding up to the high tiers of Dark Sector Survival, or running Orokin Relic missions and trading prime parts for platinum to skip resource requirements.
And all that stuff is still just surface-level bullshit. I haven’t even gotten into the base-building system, PVP systems, the elemental damage chart, the syndicate system, the four extra syndicates with unique progression mechanics, the dog-breeding system, the void trader, the ranking system, the new modular weapon-designing system, the totally separate aerial combat system with its own weapons and frames, the fishing and mining systems with unique resources that are required for certain crafting recipes…
The character designs are cool, tho.


#7

For anyone who wants something to tide them over until Into the Breach releases tomorrow, I’d recommend checking out the free IOS/Android game Hoplite. It’s a really fun little turn-based strategy game with an emphasis on movement and positioning, and a clear sense of how enemies will respond to your actions.The Into the Breach devs have also referenced it before as a big inspiration, and Austin’s talk of the spatiality and momentum has me excited to see how they expand and play with those ideas.

Also, Where the Water Tastes Like Wine seems like such a who’s who of games writing, and I love how its structure allows for the presence of so many different amazing voices. Can’t wait to see what each person brings to the table, and how their stories shape together to make the game as a whole. Also Sting. Can’t forget Sting.


#8

Hoplite is really good. Put a lot of hours into that. I should reinstall it.

And yeah, Where the Water Tastes Like Wine seems really up my alley too. Glad that’s making a splash. I’ve been curious about since it was listed among the IGF finalists.


#9

I’m not sure how to get into Warframe, and it’s a game that I’ve gotten in and out of about 4 times. I played it when it first came out in 2013 and while the character designs were really cool, the systems were really complex and the game had a super rough feel to it and for reasons that I’ve since forgotten I stopped playing it. I picked it up again a year later for about a month, and while the game improved greatly it was still very rough. It wasn’t until 2015 that I really started to get into Warframe. By then the game had more of a proper tutorial that taught you some (emphasis on some) of the crafting systems and mechanics. Eventually I just sort of fell into a groove and started picking things up and the labyrinthine systems started to become clear to me. For the first time I was actually understanding what to do. Then Fallout 4 and finals happened and I stopped playing.

As of last weekend I decided to pick Warframe back up. I’m back in college and I need a non-pvp focused game that I could play for sporadic amounts of time. I needed something that I could comfortably play for 30 minutes or several hours, and I already had a degree of investment in Warframe. I had forgotten a lot and the game has changed tremendously from when I last played it. I’m finding myself checking forums and the wiki a lot to regain my footing, but again I’m starting to fall into a groove. I’m falling into a rhythm and things are starting to become clear again. I have yet to try Plains of Eidolon because I’m waiting to get more comfortable with the game before jumping in.

Some advice I can give is that for your starting Warframe choose Volt or Excalibur. I chose Mag and didn’t really have a great time because from what I’ve learned Mag isn’t a very beginner friendly Warframe. When I picked up the other two I had a lot more fun with them. Also I really like the Bows and Shotguns in this game so I’d recommend those. They feel a lot more fun to shoot than the early game automatic weapons. I think early on the biggest hurdle is finding a playstyle you enjoy to make the grind easier. It’s also a bit rough since early on you’re limited in what you can do but the low level missions are really easy. Survival and Defense missions are great for leveling things up quickly.


#10

I think the new early game should reward you for just clearing out each planet’s worth of missions until everything is unlocked. That’s essentially your LR stuff. Collect the mods along the way and keep them all around. Check the store for weapon blueprints you might like. If you want a real leg up there ought to be a clan you can bum for the blueprints and research in there. But early on I would say unlock all the modules on your ship and unlock all the locations on each planet/zone.


#11

I have been waiting for the right time to Spout Lore about Warframe. It’s my go-to podcast game, and has been, off and on, since 2013.

I, personally, could not tell you how long it takes for Warframe to become great. Since I started playing five years ago, the new player experience has been completely rebuilt at least twice. However, to me, what makes Warframe fun is apparent within the first hour or two. If you don’t enjoy how it feels to move around in Warframe, (running, dashing, jumping, double-jumping, firing your weapon whilst sailing through the air) you should probably move on, because that is fundamental to the experience.

At this point, it takes a village to onboard you to Warframe. It has all the opacity of your average Monster Hunter, and nothing is explained well within the game. Its systems unfold over time, but with Busy Adult Time Constraints, you will have to look to other players or the official wiki to understand them. But there is hope! Friends and the community can directly improve the onboarding process. A good clan is essential. An experienced ally could save you dozens of hours of grinding by trading you useful drops they probably have by the handful. A friendly player could “taxi” you to locations deeper into the game to speed up your progress. A particularly generous individual could gift you almost any weapon in the game if you’re getting bored or need something new to keep the stream going.

Say you want to earn everything yourself. That’ll take time. Everything in Warframe needs to be leveled up, and everything provides incremental progress. Your suit has levels. Your gun has levels. Your sidearm, your sword, the chip that makes your sword deal more damage, and your little dog all have levels. All of those contribute to your account’s level, so when you get one gun to its maximum level, it’s time to start all over with a new gun. You’ll build that new gun, once you’ve acquired enough resources, and left it to cook for 12 real-world hours. Warframe’s economy trades in impatience and aesthetics, not gambling – if you want something right away, you could always just buy exactly what you want from the marketplace.

But underneath all those treadmills is a game that, to me, continues to feel fun after five years of play. Movement in Warframe is creative, fluid, and exciting. Weapons are varied and interesting – if you don’t like the feel of the handgun that fires a star-shaped spread of micro-missiles, you might like the throwing knives that pin enemies to walls or the molten plasma laser that ricochets between hostiles. Each of the 34 armored suits that establish your fundamental stats like health and armor have unique abilities that make them stand out and interface with the world differently.

I think Warframe is a special game, and an example of a studio that’s really put its heart into something and come out with a strange, beautiful mess. It’s a game where you can learn a great deal from the community, but probably one better left to fill the void when (if) Monster Hunter begins to fade.


#13

I agree, Warframe makes for a great podcast game.I feel that the movement in Warframe is one of the most fun aspects of the game. I love how freeform and expressive the movement is, and the absurd feats of acrobatics you can achieve. Paired with the weapons you have an amazing system where you can pull off some of the most absurd trick shots.


#14

As someone who started playing about half a month ago, I’d say the game starts out just fine, but it can be confusing. But where is does become somewhat non-beginner friendly is after the rails are off and the game opens us—there are a ton of very unintuitive parts then, like for example, what you need to progress past Mars. What I would recommend doing (or at least this is what I did) was listen to something like iFlynn’s ultimate beginner’s guide (it’s on Youtube but I just listen to it in the background) while doing the very beginning missions which are very straight forward.

I would also really recommend taking your time learning to use the movement well because when you can move well in the game it’s a hell of a lot more fun. I think the shooting and melee is fun immediately, but if I think if you don’t enjoy it in the beginning it may not be worth continuing (start with Excalibur). Most of the missions are very straight forward immediately, except for Spy, which can be kind of tricky.

The great part about the game (and also the bad part) is that there is so much to do so even if you can’t finish a mission that you have alternatives to it. I always feel like I’m progressing (either by building warframes, weapons, or updating mods), and now that I have two extra Warframes, I can change up my playstyle as I want and am less likely to get bored.

It’s definitely got some weird jagged edges and lots of weird interlocking systems that aren’t explained clearly but I almost always have fun and usually enjoy engaging with the systems (I mean, except the Codex Scanner, which is a super dumb thing). Reminds me of Dragons Dogma in that way. The free to play elements aren’t overbearing.


#15

The simple action of running into a slide, leaping, landing back into another slide feels so good! I always find myself trying to do it in other games and feel a pang of sadness when I can’t do it.


#16

At the same time, I appreciate Destiny letting me slow down and shoot something.


#17

Echoing above posters’ thoughts, what has kept me playing Warframe is that the moment to moment gameplay is really satisfying, and I’ve found the community around the game to be very kind and generous. I was a founder way back in the beta, and just recently came back (for the third time) and I think this time it’s clicking with me more than ever. What has been absolutely crucial for me is having a community of people not just to play with, but to ask questions of. Digital Extremes seems like a lovely studio, but they’re very good at making things opaque and confusing (for instance, “arcanes” can refer to two entirely unrelated things in the game). The wiki is pretty good as far as video game wikis are concerned, but because of how opaque the game is, it cannot be understated how useful consulting knowledgeable players is.

I really think the best way to onboard people into warframe is just doing some of the handholding that the game doesn’t do: taxi-ing people to missions they haven’t unlocked yet, helping them with quests and missions when they want it, and helping them grind in a way that doesn’t suck (or just giving them whatever they can trade in order to skip some of the grind). If at all possible, finding a chill clan that has most of the clan research done is really good too, because that can give you easy access to some really good, fun weapons.


#18

To touch on the future of video game media, it is definitely a conversation a lot of industries are having. I am a Digital Marketing Manager for a B2B company and Austin said a lot of the right stuff. The biggest issue with digital marketing is that despite so much information out there (google analytics), it is so hard to really calculate meaningful ROI on this kind of stuff.

I have been taking a real serious look at some options for me as I move forward and hope to change careers, but my skill set allows me to be really proficient in an extremely volatile industry. My current company is fortunate in that we are selling a product. At the end of the day, there will be money moving from hands at some point. But I really want to move into journalism. And from the outside, seeing that VOX layoff news last week was kind of disheartening. There are so many numbers, so many statistics and analytics that are involved in what is essentially talking to people on the internet. And you get this really hard line of people with skills to do just that, and then this other set of people, traditionally management, who just see the numbers and have to pull the plug on whole initiatives because they see no way for it to be worth the time and money.

And not that they are wrong by any means. But then the creative types who work on video content just become a statistic. I was going to end this with saying that it is a really tough time being a digital brand, but really it has always been tough.


#19

I don’t mean to divert from the very very good Warframe talk, but I do want to touch on the end topic of the show: subscriptions, patreon, etc.

I’m coming at this mostly from a content consumer standpoint. I have a very small Patreon, ~250$, which does not act as income so much as subsidizes a hobby I have that people like. But when we’re talking about established personalities that are looking for that income or income-supplement, I hear the “what premiere perks can I offer” a lot.

And in a way that sort of flies in the face of why I use Patreon and why I patron people and why I, like… donate to MaxFun and why I throw money into people’s kofis! It’s really really not the way I see it, not as paying for the content. It’s more a sense of “I want this person to continue what they love.”

It’s best exemplified by this thing I saw on Artist Twitter a few months back (and I apologize for not knowing who originally said it) but its: Make art. Make rent. Help others do the same.

I don’t look for the perk ladder when I decide how much to throw someone. I look at my wallet and what I can spare on a monthly basis, and that’s it.

However, I don’t know if I’m alone in this. When y’all support someone on patreon or what have you, do you feel like you are buying content? I’m really curious what other people think and how my weird Lets All Struggle Together mentality fits in.

I guess my point is: tip jar. Tip jars are great.


When you're a premium member do you need premium content?
#20

That’d be Scott Benson, at this point most well known for Night in the Woods.


#21

First comment on Waypoint so sorry if it is poorly written.

I think everything everybody’s been saying about Warframe is pretty true. I’ve put 501 hours (jesus…) into the game and I still don’t know every system or mechanic. The grind is real in this game, and it will take hours to days before things start to ramp up. There are also parts of the game that feel unfulfilled (such as the space combat in Archwings). Despite all of this I still think its one of my favorite games of all time.

There are some important things to know if the team wants to play it. 90% of weapons/items/companions/“classes” are gained by crafting. Fortunately this means that you almost never have to resort to buying anything with real money, but it does impose some limits. Weapons take 12 hours to craft, Warframes (the classes of the game) take ~84 hours to craft, important items can range from 12 hours to 1 minute. If the team wants to play this game they probably won’t be able to dedicate only a week to it and get the full experience. Warframe is a game that wants to you play it every day for a bit rather than binge for a week. This doesn’t mean it artificially limits game time, you can play forever. But it does mean that certain types of progress will be made in fits and starts. Another example of this is leveling your “account” (called Mastery Rank). The first couple ranks take a pretty short amount of time, but you can only level up your Mastery Rank once per day.

With that out of the way I’ll now gush about the stuff that I love and think other Waypointers might as well…

The movement is incredible and completely integral to how Warframe is played. I liken it to Titanfall’s movement: its extremely free feeling and there is a joy in simply moving around the world. You can jump, slide, flip, wallrun, mantel, roll, bullet-time float, trapeze, and so much more. Not to mention that the movement flows well with other mechanics. Aiming while flying makes you float allowing for easier shots, aiming next to a wall allows you to stick to it, while flying melee can either be a cool air attack or slam downward for a stunning blow, melee while sliding does a damaging spin attack, and a bunch more.

Although it takes time to ramp up (like everything in Warframe), the story in this game is kind of great. Its a very lore based “High Fantasy” esque sci-fi universe. Almost every item has a description which uncovers a bit of lore. You can also scan enemies to gain little story fragments which reveal more about the universe. However the actual quests in the game range from ok to absolutely incredible. Anyone who hasn’t seen it yet should not spoil themselves on the quest “The Second Dream” or “The War Within”. I think its genuinely great pulp sci-fi, and maybe a bit anime. Some side quests are really cool too. I honestly love the finale of “Octavia’s Anthem”.

Additionally I think the designs in the game are inspired. Some maps are pretty drab, seemingly stolen from a Dead Space asset flip. However everything based around the dead civilization “the Orokin” is super cool. The artists also have a habit of sneaking in designs based around lotus petals in really interesting ways. I also really like the look of the Plains of Eidolon.

Finally I can’t stress enough how excellent the community is. People are friendly, constantly giving advice, helping newbies, and just generally being good neighbors. It may have something to do with the cooperative nature of the game, but I’ve not seen many games like it. Create a Waypoint clan and I’m sure folks will flock to it and have fun.

Overall the game is great but with caveats. I think if the team wants to get into it and are looking for an excuse they should start at the next major update. A new open world area is coming out sometime this year and it looks pretty Cyberpunk. Otherwise feel free to jump in. I know I’d be totally down to help out anyone who decides to take a plunge.