Keeping Battleborn Viable


It seems to me that one of the biggest issues crippling Battleborn is the amount of time one can spend in the game but not playing. That is to say, waiting. Waiting for a team to assemble, waiting to revive, waiting while you ‘sprint’ across the map at a snail’s pace to rejoin your teammates.

Certainly, there are other issues and at least some aspects of the waiting problem are exacerbated by the dwindling player base. However, there are a few things that could be done to minimize the waiting.

  1. Make queuing more dynamic:
    1. Allow players to backfill teams already in a match. It is mind-boggling that there is a menu option to quit a game but no option for the now screwed team (and yes, for the post part you are screwed if you are a character down in Battleborn) to get a replacement.
    2. Give players something to do while waiting. An Overwatch-like skirmish mode, playing checkers, almost anything is better than asking them to watch a nearly static screen for 5, 10, or more minutes. This is just asking for players to get distracted and then either get stuck with a default character or simply not play at all as they found something more interesting to do than watching the video game equivalent of paint drying.
    3. Let players change characters upon revive. Maybe they chose the wrong character; maybe they thought they could do without a healer, but changed their mind. Whatever. If they want to change, let them.
  2. Stop penalizing people for dying a lot. It already sucks to get killed, but then to have to wait progressively longer to revive? That’s stupidly punitive. It makes a losing game worse as characters are kept out of play longer and longer. It’s a dis-incentive to play, not an incentive to play better.
  3. Make some shorter match modes. If I have to wait 10 minutes or more for a match and matches can last up to 30 minutes then, barring getting my ass handed to me and the match ending abnormally quickly, playing Battleborn is a significant time investment. Not everyone has ~40 minutes to play, but surely we want these people to be able to play if they want, no?
  4. Get rid of “move” and have everyone move at “sprint” speed—or even better something a bit higher. Everyone and their cousin complains bitterly about character speed, so fix it. Yes, some gear will have to be adjusted or eliminated—but you won’t need this gear so much if the movement speed is upped, so it seems a small price to pay for a better playing experience.

Now, I want to head off a couple potential protests. First, I like the long matches. A good, well-fought Incursion match that go full time is damned fun even if I’m on the losing side. My team and I, maybe a player down, fought a good fight. We didn’t (all) quit, instead we hung in there and kept the last sentry up.

Players of Overwatch and/or other games will have no doubt noted I got some of these ideas from them. If you think that is somehow a bad thing, I think you are thinking in the wrong way—particularly if you want Battleborn to continue as a viable game. Gearbox should do what works, looking at and doing what other similar, successful games do is a perfectly sensible thing. When I play Overwatch, I’m never not playing for more than a minute or two and it never takes me more than 30 seconds to rejoin my team if I get ganked. I am playing 95% of the time, not 75% or whatever it works out to of the time as I am in Battleborn.

Finally, if you watched the chat about the upcoming winter changes or read about them, it seems that some of these may be in the pipeline already. I sure hope so. I like Battleborn a lot and so I want more people playing it. It offers a richer playing experience via the helix and gear builds than other games do. Sure, it’s got a learning curve, but it engages my brain in ways that a simpler game like OW does not. There is a space in the MOBA ecology for it, but it needs to better and more humbly adapt to that space and the realities of players’ expectations.



Spotify finally entered the 60’s


For the good of the planet Earth Santa Claus FINALLY gave Spotify the rights to execute Beatles songs, a prohibition that always seemed at least obnoxious, and now the world is finally a much better place.



Why Alien Invasion Movies Are Dumb (and yet I still love them)


These movies, regardless of schlockiness, are entertaining to enough of us. We love our heroes and for humanity to come out on top despite our flaws. As the saying goes, they are a guilty pleasure – and count me among the guilty! I’m going to rant, but this post was definitely not written with the idea that these films and stories aren’t at least fun and worthwhile at some level. My tongue is in my cheek at times and I have a hope that it might encourage some writers and film makers to explore the genre in new ways. Wouldn’t that be cool?

So, anyhow, just what is my quasi-beef with them? Why have I claimed they suck in some way?

Read on!



What to Talk about before We Create Artificial Intelligence


Artificial Intelligence has been a sort of holy grail for computer science for some time now, though it has remained consistently out of reach. There are a several opinions as to why we seem to be little closer to creating AGI today than we were two or three decades ago. We don’t know how to program an AGI, so the explanations for this lack of progress are varies. They range from it being a problem with the lack of understanding about how brains create intelligence, an issue of making a sufficiently accurate simulation of a human brain (regardless of knowing the specifics of how it creates consciousness), or simple lack of computing power and complexity (i.e. it should simply emerge from a sufficiently complex and powerful system).

Read more…



WordPress app for iPad


Hi!
I’m testing the official wordpress app for iPad. Let’s see how this comes out. Still looking for app that posts through multiple blogging platforms, like livescribe. I must say I’m frustrated that Disq.us has such a shitty and limited app that mostly fits the iPhone screen only…



007 Skyfall – plus ordinary life updates


…is one of the best 007 films ever, if not the best (I’m still thrilled by having just watched it 2 hours ago, and my previous favorite was Casino Royale). The opening sequence graphics are stunning, the theme is a classic Bond style masterpiece in Adele’s great voice. Javier Bardem’s character is really outstanding and almost outshines Daniel Craig, as good as Craig is himself! Loved the references and jokes about old Bond movies, the final sequence at the Skyfall mansion is memorable, the finale was a surprise, dark but very, very good!
I cannot wait to see this film again!

 

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In todays trip to the mall we happened to notice they’re selling Windows 8 Pro for just 269 Brazilian Reais (1 Real = 50 US$ cents), so it is, as we say about very cheap things here in Brazil, “Banana Price” close to what former Windows versions were priced (600+ Brazilian Reais at least)! I’m waiting however. Don’t wanna be the first to find out the first bugs! 😉

 

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We’re also following the new season of The Walking Dead and it all looks good so far. Good to see most characters growing some balls and doing some killing instead of just whining around! Lori however is still a growing pain in the ass!

 

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A few weeks ago a tragedy happened in my life. My smartphone suffered sudden death by drowning in the toilet. I was smartphoneless for about 10 days. That was good for me to confess and accept the sad truth: I am a smartphone addict. Using a stupidphone almost drove me nuts. I have an iPad but it’s Wi-Fi only so it wouldn’t always do the tricks. So there I was having an espresso with my husband but I couldn’t check-in on Foursquare or tweet about how awesome the coffee was, of post a tweaked picture of my espresso to Instagram. I could not update my Facebook status and see people liking my espresso and commenting about my irrelevant and mondane drink!! I also couldn’t keep in contact with my friends by instantly sending them endless messages about some personal, stressing but not less mondane issue,  that in the “old times” (or 12 years ago) would have to wait until we met in person or made an expensive cell phone call (mind that talking on cell phones was not and is still not cheap).
So, here it is the saddest part of the addiction: I was so afraid of being smartphoneless again that I actually acquired myself not only one, but two new phones… you know, a spare one in case some bad accident happens again (one can never be too careful!!). It was 10 endless days until the two phones finally arrived, together, in my mailbox. One cannot imagine the joy and relief I felt when I held my 2 new babies (Sony XPERIA S LT26i running on Droid Ice Cream Sandwich and Sony Ericsson XPERIA Mini Pro SK17i on Gingerbread)! As embarrassed as I feel for being so ridiculously addicted to my gadgets, I really hope I won’t lose them again any time soon!
As gadget addicted as I am, I’m still “old style” with typing (not to say clumsy) and prefer qwerty keyboards to touchscreen keyboards, hence my latest acquisition is a Bamboo stylus. I’m having a much better relationship with my touchscreens now that I have a stylus!



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