Invading Poland Is, In Fact, Very Complex

No, I didn't forget about Poland.

No, I didn't forget about Poland.

Hearts of Iron 3 may well be the most infuriating game you’ll ever love.

  • It’s incredibly buggy (the 0-day patch included a bug that, um, prevented any major power from actually being able to run a military)
  • It’s wildly ahistorical (without a walkthrough from Brandon “GreenMarine” Reinhart on how to use some of the new diplomatic/intelligence systems, the entire world will gang up on whatever side you’re not on in short order)
  • It’s about as good an example of “holy god, no one will be able to play this game” scope explosion as you can imagine, with the entire global World War 2 modeled on the brigade/regiment scale, and research calling back to Hearts of Iron 1’s researching tank camshafts
  • You’ll worry a lot more about TOE, supply and logistics issues than is reasonably sane for a civilian

Oh, and before I forget:

  • The AI is really good (in my current game as Germany, the UK blasted through and invaded East Prussia shortly after the invasion of Poland)
  • The organization feature teaches you why armies have all those ranks and things (your armies won’t function effectively unless you organize them into corps, armies, and army corps)
  • Most crazy levels of detail can be safely offloaded to the AI and it won’t actually suck as badly as you’d think (a working, if not the most effective  strategy for invading Poland is putting everything on AI control, right clicking on Warsaw, and saying “Go”)
  • It looks creepily like the kind of wargame I owned in the 1980s with tens of thousands of counters. Note: I didn’t say “played”. No one “played” those monsters and remained sane.
  • Despite all of the above, it’s actually fairly playable. Go figure.

Should you buy it? If you haven’t already, probably best to wait for the inevitable blizzard of patches and expansions (Europa Universalis 3, for example, didn’t become a really good game until the 2nd expansion). However, given how much of the game logic is exposed to Lua scripting, the manic Hearts of Iron user community may well just make a damn expansion themselves. With sharks and lasers. Well, maybe with PzkpfwIVds.

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Life In Wartime

Jeremy Monken tells his story of savage weirdness and branded coffee mugs as a CSR for Warhammer Online to the Escapist.

At Christmas, the company provided a catered meal for the CSRs who had to monitor an in-game event and work through the holiday. I don’t know if our bosses just ordered what they usually did, but the surplus of food made it seem like our department’s slow decline had gone unnoticed. There was enough food for an army, but only a handful of us were left. For weeks afterward, the break room fridge overflowed with unopened trays of leftover corn. It felt like an offering left to appease the layoff god. Maybe this delicious corn would sate his mighty hunger.


The totally awesome and not at all insulting to

  • women who resent being viewed as a walking support system for attractive curves and to
  • men who resent being viewed as a random collection of lustful urges

EA advertising campaign is attracting a bit of attention.


Just a bit.

Zubon at Kill Ten Rats has a modest proposal.

Since the approach is apparently, “any publicity is good publicity,” I’m just not going to mention any EA games for the rest of the year unless this is somehow made right.

Sorry, Bioware! A commenter at Ars Technica has some experience, being an actual attractive female company representative at conventions. You know.

Have any of you BEEN a “booth babe”? No? Then STFU. Myself, I’ve been a “booth babe” at many comic, scifi and anime cons for the last several yrs. I was also the training manager for ALL employees, running the booths and overseeing the product of two major companies. I also happen to be attractive and enjoy wearing costumes. I have a four-yr degree and my day-job is in the comic industry. But I guess I’m ASKING to be groped because I’m one step up from a hooker, right? Even if I WAS a fucking hooker, that gives no one the right. I can walk around in a thong and pasties and it’s nobody’s license to touch.

The irony: this has happened before. Last year we had legendarily creepy LiveJournal ‘celebrity’ “The Ferrett” announce that you know, it would be a better world if he could just walk up to random strangers at ComicCon and feel their boobs. And being a totally Aspergian geek, he MADE IT OPEN SOURCE.


We talked about this. It was an Open-Source Project, making breasts available to select folks. (Like any good project, you need access control, because there are loutish men and women who just Don’t Get It.) And we wanted a signal to let people know that they were okay with being asked politely, so we turned it into a project:


The Open-Source Boob Project.


Why would anyone take offense at this? WHY GOD WHY? Oh.


This sort of thing happens frequently at cons. Don’t believe me? Ask isako or purpletophat. Women who wear skimpy outfits at cons or even slightly flesh bearing outfits at Cons hear this all the time. Or worse, people just go ahead and do it. I’ve slapped many a fanboy hand.


The idea that you can touch whatever on display is not body positive. It hearkens back to the common plea: “Well officer she deserved it! She was wearing a mini-skirt! She asked for it.” That idea is frankly repugnant. To be fair, I think however that this is more the writer’s salivation than the project’s.


To be fair, I don’t actually believe that the EA marketing droids that came up with this juvenile drivel thought for a moment that they were encouraging the mauling of female convention-goers. Given the history of the marketing for their project, they were really just pulling a Madonna and dancing in front of a burning cross because, hey, fire pretty. Thoughts about consequences? That’s for lame-os!

That doesn’t make their ‘I’m sorry you were offended by our witty marketing, oh, and please buy our game!’ standard corporate straight-from-image-management pseudo-apology any less disgusting.

We apologize for any confusion and offense that resulted from our choice of wording,

And I apologize for any confusion in how I worded my belief that your marketing team was devoid of common sense, views its female employees as sexual objects, and reflects poorly on our entire industry in its juvenile pursuit of attention.

and want to assure you that we take your concerns and sentiments seriously.

How nice for you.

I wish I could be surprised. Unfortunately – not really. Really, the only way this sort of complete and total nimrod idiocy will ever get addressed is if the industry as a whole starts actually, you know, hiring women and promoting them, so that at some point the fratboy “huh huh” atmosphere breaks down and sexual harassment isn’t viewed as a clever in-joke.

Nothing Is Real, Strawberry Fields

Paul Barnett, Mythic EA Mythic BIOWARE Mythic creative director, on the state of the industry he is creatively directing:

The concept of there being MMOs is probably dead.

Well, then. Everyone go home, we’re done!

Oh… wait.

The concept of there being MMOs is probably dead. There are just games. There’s online games, and very soon there will just be games. They will all be online anyway. I don’t think there’s an MMO any more. I think there’s online games and there’s online revenue, and they’re sort of going to combine.

Hope you like microtransactions!

This Just In: We Can’t Trust Any Of You With Those Body Parts You Think About, Like, All The Time

GLAAD announces they are going to combat homophobia in game communities. Joshua Meadows (sometime commenter here, frequent commenter on Second Life issues, and I suspect, you know, may be that way) has a few things to say about it.

I believe, after years of experience inside these environments, any plan that is little more than “Let’s ask the players to be nicer to each other,” is utterly doomed to failure. By the same extension, however, any plan that demands companies adopt an authoritarian stance against homophobic behavior is going to end up increasing vitriol against gay players.

More here.

In case you think he might be overreacting a tad: EA encourages convention-goers to molest their employees for valuable prizes. My reaction to this pretty much exactly matches Jeremy Preacher’s.

I understand that abysmally stupid ideas get floated in meetings all the time, but at a billion-dollar company like EA, you’d think SOMEONE would have the basic common sense to put a stop to a FUCKING CONTEST TO SEE WHO CAN HARASS YOUR EMPLOYEES THE MOST.

Tune in next week, when more people say things before and better than I could!

Asia Makes UO2, You Can’t Have It, But They Can Have WoW Again

Apparently, EA isn’t just bringing a simple localized version of UO to the Chinese market, but making a new MMO using the UO “license”.

Hong Kong-based NetDragon Websoft will develop the massively multiplayer online game — where thousands or millions of players play simultaneously in a virtual world — in conjunction with EA’s Mythic Entertainment division. NetDragon Websoft will have the exclusive license to operate the game in China, Hong Kong, Macau and India.

Meanwhile, the Chinese government has approved the release of Wrath of the Lich King and provisionally allowed NetEase to relaunch the game after a long downtime which caused some discontent!

Thousands of anxious gamers who have been missing the game are expected to gather at today’s opening of Chinajoy, an online game carnival in Shanghai, to demand the game be made available again, the Southern Weekly reported last Saturday.

“As a large consumption group, we at least have the right to know when will the game be re-opened or will it be re-booted,” the newspaper quoted a WoW fan, named Laode, as saying.

WoW fans vented their anger by logging on to servers belonging to Netease on July 11. After 5,000 signed on at the same time, they succeeded in paralyzing seven servers.

WoW players also left nearly 3,000 complaints on the official website of China Consumers’ Association and some players said they planned to sue.

So, for those keeping track: protesting racial inequality in Xinjiang is bad, protesting talent spec inequality in Wintergrasp is fine.

However, everything seems to be back on track now, thus showing that the appropriate palms were greased that Blizzard and NetEase showed the appropriate awareness of socialist norms and morals.