1. Steamworks integration is very good news indeed.

    My anticipation for this game, very strong in the early days of its announcement and teasers, was once very strong. Watching the videos they’ve been releasing more recently, it is somewhat less so. The action, the shooty-bang-kapow of it all, looks a little too heavily flavoured by the CODBLOPBATTLEMEDALHONOR faux-realism trend, which I just can’t get behind.

    If they have shader blood splashes across your field of view when you get hurt, I’m going to boycott it!

    Still, my hopes are high. We shall see.

  2. I’ve heard this called “TF3” other places.

  3. My enthusiasm was dampened considerably when I found out that the game has a leveling system, which…well, here:

    What about the low-level abilities? Are you trying to manage them differently to, say Battlefield, where medics couldn’t get a defib unit at the beginning?
    RH: Our medics will be able to heal from day one! We tried to make it simple. Every time you level up you get one credit, which can buy one ability. Our abilities are spread over four categories. Soldier, Operative, Medic, and Engineer. Then there’s a fifth category called Universal. You can use those no matter what class you are at any time. They are the things like making the life meter longer. Things that, no matter what, they’re truly useful and simple meat and potatoes things. All the classes have everything you would expect.

    To which I would contend: if you have unlocks that are constant passive buffs applicable and beneficial to every class you play as, why the hell aren’t those just intrinsic? Why make people work to unlock them other than creating a treadmill of incentivization? All this does is create a gulf between new players and experienced players that has little to do with skill and everything to do with how many hours you can afford to sink into the game.

    Of course, the specifics of how that system is going to work are still fuzzy. So who knows!

  4. Worrisome. And mechanics of it aside, I am tired so tired of games that mistake complexity for depth. Not sure if Brink will be one of them, but Splash Damage’s previous, Quake Wars, fit that bill pretty well.

    Depth of gameplay has nothing to do with how much crap you throw into the blender, how many weapons, or abilities, or unlocks, or anything else you throw at the player. Depth of gameplay comes from balancing combat (if it’s that kind of game) so finely that you can immediately tell a) when your skill level increases b) how different strategy choices play out.

    I think it’s the advent of consoles and idiots trying to play FPSes with gamepads that have led developers to abandon the whole idea of skill, actual hand-eye player skill development in the context of their game, in favour of More Shit Flying Around. After all, a normal human being just can’t get very good trying to play that kind of game with a controller — a keyboard/mouse player will beat them every single time.

    So when games are developed, as they so often are these days (bastards!), for console first, well… you can see where that leads.

    As always, Rocket Arena 3 is my examplar for all these things — stripped down to its barest essentials, purely about skill and reaction time, and deeper than the Marianas Trench.

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