A community can’t grow unless…

… it has strong leaders. The community I am talking about is IndianVideoGamer. The growth is not just about adding more and more people which I am sure this community will get as the Indian gaming arena continues to grow and especially in this digital age when we have more and more people with access to internet. The growth is about how do you make this community meaningful.

I was introduced to this community a few weeks back by a friend of mine (not gonna name him) and he spoke very highly about this community. Well I joined in hope to make some new friends and also to be able to possibly trade games. The experience I have had since then has been nothing but dismissal. After a while now I am someone who just doesn’t wants to go back to this community anymore and I dont think I will unless I have a pressing need to buy or sell anything. But, as someone who was so excited to be able to add value to this community is just so dis-appointed as of now.

You try to join a forum about a game and all you see is 99% of the people just trash talking the game (DriveClub or AC Unity) – it seems that people here just wait for a game to have something wrong about it and they all go hyper about it. The negativity about the game is so much so that it just reflects back into hate. Given that 99% of the people on the forum are such and the comments are so biased just makes me never want to go back there. The energy is so negative. I just found 1 comment in 1000s of comments where someone had a balanced view of the game and was willing to give credit to the game where they did good.

Now let’s talk about the moderators. The part of the community that deals with Trade (Sales/buy) of games is governed by a set of moderators – who are like gate-keepers of the sanctity of the  forum and ensure people get a fair experience from the setup. Of course that means it comes with certain guidelines and rules. The part that sorries me is that the moderators are nothing but a set of people who do not apply their heads when dealing with people in a community. Well someone got to tell them that these are people and this is a social community. When we deal in a setting like these we got to not just follow the “letter of the law” but treat people like people. I made a selling post which had a date of few days (4 days to be exact) in past and my sales post was rejected and I was forced to take a new set of images and post again. I tried to deal with this moderator – piper; who wasn’t willing to listen. As a matter of fact he didn’t even repost to my 2nd question/request and just went into solace. I get it that many people would reach out to you, and you can chose to answer a few of just ignore to make people do what you want to do (i did eventually took pics again). But, they forget that this is a community and you need to be able to orchestrate the behaviors in there.

And today came out the blasphemy of the all interactions I have had. I have been dealing with a certain guy to sell 2 games. For 3 weeks I have been providing this guy with my account details for him to transfer funds to my account. And his person – ck has been trolling me by saying that I havent provided him with account number when it was sitting right in there. The text which I copied for several other users were able to make payments by ck – no he wasn’t.  Eventually I left some negative feedback for him. CK then invited piper to the conversation and asked him to review on grounds that my feedback was not against guidelines where in the deal was not done and until deal is done I cant leave any feedback. CK claimed that he didn’t give me damaged goods or didn’t steal my money so i can’t leave any feedback. piper agreed and without even waiting to hear my side of the story he just removes my feedback from the site.

I left a message with my disappointment in a private conversation to piper and ck and left it at it. But, then i realized that this community just lost 1 member and maybe many more as I will not be the one who will recommend anyone to this community or maybe if i do I will have a few “buts” attached to it.

I am going to post a link to this post on the site in wake that someone reads and tries to improve the forum and overall maturity of the moderators on the site. I am very well aware that this post might be deleted and I may even get banned after this – and if that happens it will even re-affirm my trust that this community needs a change of leadership where they need people who listen to the members and not run this like this is a private business for them.

 

 

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Assassins Creed Unity

This is that time of the year when I go back to playing my favorite games on PlayStation. This year the gaming arena has changed a lot and I am experiencing a lot of exposure to games in India people + the fact that there is a huge play of Open World, freedom of choice, how would a player play the game, and of course multiplayer.

Every game I will play this year, I will make a post about it as to what was my experience and it will be for my PlayStation friends who I share the experience. So let’s start with Unity..


 

Before I get into my experience Unity this year like other games (noticeably DriveClub) have had several launch issues. Unity was pitched into the same arena as of AC 3 where the game has several bugs and was not performing and FPS issues. The reviews from major players have not been awesome. IGN reviewed the game at 7.8/10 and GameSpot reviewed the game at 7/10. So much so that several people cancelled their pre-orders (or so they said on forums). I still went ahead and got the game.

I haven’t been able to play for hours but I have played enough. I am start of Memory Sequence 6 and have 3 more memory to go. So, I would say about 60% played and dealt with. Here is my view…

GamePlay

It’s more or less what you come to expect from a franchise. You cant expect them to change how the game plays. AC has been around for 8 years and it is all about history. We did see Naval Gameplay in AC 4 Black Flag but will we see guns and airplanes in this series – not anytime soon. We can expect it to go there some day but the progression to the overall Assassins vs. Templars play has to be continued. So you wont find this refreshing but if you were looking for something different in this title it was probably a mis-placed expectation to start with.

Even then, the game has some new things which excite me and want me to go back. The foremost is the free running and introduction of the new Parkour system. The dedicated buttons for going up and going down are awesome and it gives me so much more control. The free running has been improved as well – I am able to jump from roof to roof and roof to ropes and what not with a very high certainty as to what I want is what Arno does. This is the first game when I love to hang about on roofs and just travel across Paris all the time.

The missions have been changed and they are no longer – follow directions sort of missions. There are some help and some opportunities but you can ignore them and do however you want to. I have completed several missions exactly how i wanted to. Some of them get linear because of the location as there are no many ways to reach the final location but when I can, i find my own ways.

The AI is highly improved and soldiers remember you. So, you just cant have a conflict, run away and go back into the same area hoping to sneak by – the soldiers will recognize you immediately and attack you. The fights are no longer click-click kill. You can’t take on more than 4-5 enemies and if they have guns you will die. I am still a Soldier and have a lot to upgrade but it’s tough so you have to rely on stealth a lot. Several missions, I just use Crouch and Cover to do what I need to do. I sit around in a hidden position and find my opportunity – see enemies to cycle on their path and sneak by. It’s not easy to do missions any more and certainly if all fails – go in and kill all doesn’t work any more.

RPG

This is a new one and I love it. As of Sequence 4, I didn’t have my Double Air Assassination and I had to earn it and it was making my life miserable. But, as I saved up for that skill and when I got it I felt a sense of achievement. It was so fulfilling of a sense that I fell in love with this RPG system. The customization of character is another big one – not only can i make my Arno look like how i want it to look like I can now chose what gear he has and how it affects my game play. I have chosen to grow my Arno on Stealth and Health and my gameplay is not melee or range. I have to stay in shadows and find cover kills and it enhances my experience several fold. The RPG system is still very linear and apart from Health and Lock Picking everything is single level. I would like to see UBI take this concept to next level and provide me more, and quicker upgrades which make me do missions more and more.

The only downside I feel in this system is that it’s only Co-Op (later on that) and single player missions that give Upgrade Points and it’s tough to earn them. It’s maybe a bit too harsh on that part and I would have loved a bit more freedom – especially when every mission gives you something but lesser so you are compelled to do other missions too. Right now, I want to rush through all of Single Player missions to get all upgrade points but once the story is finished i have little to come back to the game and again like all AC games before – side missions have little consequence in the RPG.

Bugs

How can i not talk about it. Many people reported a few issues broadly – Arno stuck, Arno falling into ground, Low Framerate, etc. I saw Arno getting stuck only ONCE (1 time) in all of 30 hours I have played and i didn’t notice any frame-rate drops that impacts my experience. Some places where there are 1000s of NPCs, I do feel Arno running slowly but it’s okay. I had to strain myself to notice that. It wasn’t there until someone said it to me it was there. I dont know where these bugs are coming from but my experience of the game has been smooth.

Graphics & Story

The city of Paris is beautiful. I haven’t visited Paris ever but now I want to go there for sure. The structures and their details are so real. And you can go almost everywhere inside houses, there are windows, doors unlocked and locked which you can pick and go inside. For the first time I feel connected with the city and it feels like I am in one city for real unlike previous games where they were just structures helping me to navigate around and hide and complete missions.

Story till start of 6th sequence is not great but it still draws me in. I want to go forward but Paris and all of it’s missions keeps me from going in. Arno is pretty much on a revenge path but he is going through the journey of becoming an assassin. He is still new to the Creed and his mentors are helping him. I still have to see if everything he does – does it links to something bigger i.e. assassins vs. templars. There is a small side story on Abstergo and talk about Sage – the story does tells that the Grandmaster that Arno is after is the sage that Abstergo and Assassins in current world need information on, maybe that’s the connection. So while the story is probably about Revenge by Arno it seems to be connected. Does it draws me in fully – not really but it draws me enough. It seems like a stop over before a big push that AC franchise can do in next series. More on this once I finish it.

Multi-player

I have only played Co-Op missions (heists still pending) and once time it was 2 player and other time it was 4 player. Both times it was fun and there was some serious co-ordination. The 4 player Co-Op was awesome – we all were random players matched and we just went about knowing what to do and were supporting each other. It was a case of some skilled and experience AC players. We didnt chat even once and we successfully finished the missions. The experience as awesome and I can’t wait to do a heist with a friend and talking and planning. We don’t have PvP as it was in AC 4 but I didnt like that much. This Co-Op is so much more fun and the amount of co-ordination it takes to get to stuff done is great.

 

Overall

I love this game and my decision to get this game on preorder and enjoy has paid off. The reviews I think are just not doing justice to the game (I know they are professionals), but having played the game i just cant agree to some of their comments. If you like AC games, this one if not to be missed.