FEATURES: Roundtable Discussion #27 – January 2010

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Its the first Roundtable of the new year, covering mostly C&C 4 with a few extra questions. Here’s the panel.

Question 1) EA have been trying to “sell” the new way to harvest Tiberium in C&C 4 to the fans. What do you think about the new Tiberium collection system?

Sonic: When I first saw it I thought it was kind of lame. Seriously, Tiberium magically floats downs from orbit or something? But now that I actually know where its coming from it fits within the style the of the “new way to play”. For those who don’t know, (this is the very condensed version of the story) the deposits of Tiberium around the battlefield are sent down by Idris Corp, all of this is controlled by some sort of semi-sentient AI driven system. We will find our more about this soon. Other people have commented on how silly the unit collecting and carrying the Tiberium crystal looks. Well some sort of visual reference is needed for all players to see who has what. With that said it will be sad not see fields of Tiberium everywhere and their soothing green glow.

Nmenth: Having played the beta, I can say from personal experience that it is tedious, boring, and a mockery of harvesting at best. I think EA knows this all too, but realizes it is too late now to “fix” the game. They apparently didn’t plan on any tiberium harvesting in the beginning, so I guess what we’ve got is more of an after thought when they saw the fan demand for tiberium was high (how they could have not predicted that escapes me).

Banshee: The new way to harvest tiberium is not a bad thing, but replacing the credits with a pop cap is a federal crime which seriously reduces the strategy depth of the game.

Chickendippers: I think the new harvesting mechanic fits in well with the new overall gameplay of Tib Twilight as it gives players something else to contest; if you choose to go for Tiberium rather than the TCNs right away you may start loosing at first, but with the more powerful units you can steamroller them later.
The developers have assured me it fits in well with the fiction, but I’m still unconvinced that small bundles of Tiberium need to be extracted from deep underground and flown to specific locations around the world where they can be detonated (but it’s good to see Ion Storms are still in the game in at least some capacity).

Ryan: The new Tiberium harvesting system is… pretty good. I must admit, it looks goofy in the sense that you’ve got giant Tiberium crystals floating above units. But that said, the actual Tiberium crystals themselves look fantastic. Yes, it’s a silly point to make, but C&C3’s giant blocky lumps of “Tiberium” were quite ugly. The C&C4 Tiberium is much more traditional and much nicer to look at, so I do kinda wish we had been treated to fields of the stuff.

Mighty BOB!: I’m not buying it in the slightest. It feels very tacked on and saying it’s what fans want (harvesting) is an insult (it’s not even remotely similar to harvesting). The entire mechanic is ridiculous.

NODSOLDIERGIRL: I think the way Tiberium Harvesting now is it adds a twist to the series, but at the same time hurts it. They should not have messed with the way we harvested Tiberium, it was fine in my opinion just the way it was.

Nathancnc: I think that the new system is much better that the old point system in the previous betas of C&C4. But, I do not prefer it over traditional harvesting. I believe that they should have put in Tiberium fields, and have harvesters come back to your crawler or outpost. I don’t think I will ever get used to this new system.

Question 2) Have you been participating in the private C&C 4 beta, and do you think you will play more or less now that it’s going public?

Sonic: Well I can say I particpated at least. I’m not a multiplayer guys anymore, haven’t been since the early days of Red Alert 2. So now that the beta is public I doubt I will be playing at all. Unless more hours are added to the days. Besides I’m more interested in the single player and storyline.

Nmenth: Yes I have, as mentioned above. I do not like multiplayer games much, I am a solo type gamer. That alone makes me less inclined to participate along with however many other people are out there, the more crowded, the further away I’ll be. However, numbers aside, the multiplayer aspect of C&C4 is not to my liking, especially the forced teamwork which will drag you down if you have an incompetent ally. Lately, I only play the beta with new patches, and only in sandbox mode.

Banshee: I’ll play it because I’m very interested in the storyline. So, I wanna see what’s next for Kane and the Brotherhood of Nod. If I enjoy the campaign, then I’ll play skirmish or even online matches.

Chickendippers: I am participating, time constraints will really remain the main deciding factor for me. Although it should now be much easier for me to find a game when I do have the time.

Ryan: I think I’ll play a bit more – but I’m more interested to see the community reaction. Of course at first there will be the usual complaining and disappointment, and that’s only fair and natural. But I think it’ll be interesting to see if the fans come round to the new gameplay mechanics.

Mighty BOB!: I tested the private beta for a few hours spread out over a week or three, reported some bugs, and uninstalled it because of it’s uninspired design and the resulting boredom it induced. That and it was pretty obvious that our feedback would have insubstantial effect on core mechanics because their desired goals and target market were very set in stone, whether they were at odds with what long-time fans would like or not.

NODSOLDIERGIRL: Yes I have been playing the private beta. I will now that there will be more people to play with it should be more fun. Can’t wait to see all the new people who aren’t in yet, finally get in. It should also be interesting to see.

Nathancnc: I haven’t been playing it much lately because of my busy schedule, but as the beta becomes public and as we approach the release, I will be playing it much more.

Question 3) With us being so close to the release of C&C 4 it doesn’t look there will be a collectors edition of the game. Your thoughts on this, considering its the big conclusion for the Tiberium/Kane storyline?

Sonic: Some what dissapointed but for some reason I kind of expected it. Its no major loss in the end. Besides over here in New Zealand we usually get some sort cheap looking, crappy rip off version of theses so called collectors editions anyway. But something special for the final Tiberium/Kane chapter would have been nice.

Nmenth: Although I have never been interested in collectors editions, I think it would be ironically stupid to leave one off on Kane’s finale, but not really unexpected.

Banshee: There is a possibility that they’ll announce it in the next days or next month. If they don’t, then they’ve definitely replaced the collectors edition with the pre-order edition, which has the soundtrack, a special prequel mission and few other goodies… but you have to download everything.

Chickendippers: Personally I’m not bothered. The pre-order seems like enough of a collectors edition for those who go after that sort of thing.

Ryan: ) I’m generally dismissive of the “C&C IS DEAD!” chants that crop up after every C&C game comes out, but that Red Alert 3 didn’t receive a proper expansion pack, and that C&C4 won’t even be receiving a Collector’s Edition is a bit depressing; has the market for this stuff really vanished? Personally, for Kane’s final outing, I would have insta-purchased any Collector’s Edition.

Mighty BOB!: It’s only February so I wouldn’t rule out the possibility of an announcement of a collectors edition just yet. It could still happen. With that being said, a few extra maps that everyone will have in a few months and some outtakes don’t make for a good collectors edition and don’t justify the extra cost. If there is to be a collectors edition then it need making-of footage, behind the scenes, interviews, concept art, a poster, or other such goodies.

NODSOLDIERGIRL: really think this is bad, since its the final game in the Tiberium Saga you would think that they would want to go out with a bang….something memorable. I hope they do come up with something, but as its looking now they won’t.

Nathancnc: I am very upset that their has been no announcement of a Collector’s Edition. I want there to be one, but the fact that EA has said neither yes or no is annoying. If they are not going to make one, they should just say so. I did break down and pre-order the regular Disc version… but I am still hoping for a Collector’s Edition.

Question 4) Switching to the modding scene. What mods have impressed you the most in the past few months?

Sonic: On the FPS front it has been what else? Renegade X, what can be said that hasn’t already been said about Renegade X. The team working on this have given many Renegade fans exactly what the want. I love the way the game plays and the way it looks. It really is Renegade reborn. And with the great news that its going stand alone more people will be able to play it because you want need to own Unreal Tournament 3 at all. Back to the more traditional C&C RTS modding. The Forgotten mod has really caught my attention over the past couple of months. And their annoucment of using HD video to tell their story is awesome. Very ambitious though, but fingers crossed the team can pull it off.

Nmenth: The only two mods I’ve been following are Renegade X and Reborn, but I’ve always been impressed by them.

Banshee: At PPM, we had 3 releases: Tiberium Essence 1.4, Invasion Confirmed New Year Demo and The Dawn of the Tiberium Age 1.10. Tiberium Essence is being played online by many people and it seems quite ballanced. Invasion Confirmed is the first non RA3 mod to bring the Empire of the Rising Sun to the battlefield. The latest release from The Dawn of the Tiberium Age is impressive at this stage, bringing two modes: the classic TD and the Enhanced mode which mixes TD and TS units. Outside PPM, the recent releases from Tiberian Dawn Redux and Middle East Crisis 2 are looking interesting.

Chickendippers: I’ve been extremely impressed with all of the C&C modders with all the new releases just before Christmas it was difficult to keep up! Although not strictly a C&C mod, Renegade X has really impressed me with the quality of their work. Tiberian Dawn Redux has also caught me a little off guard; although it’s a Tib Dawn > Zero Hour conversion, graphically it really holds its own against the mods being developed for C&C3!

Ryan: Where to begin? The Forgotten is going to be a day one download, Tiberium Icestorm is looking ace, C&C Renovatio is what Red Alert 2 probably should have been (and the universe bridging game that I’ve dreamed of), Tiberium Essence was, and is, excellent, MidEast Crisis 2 is similarly impressive, as was Renegade X. There really are dozens of C&C mods that I am looking forward to.

Mighty BOB!: MidEast Crisis always continues to impress, and The Forgotten is moving production into FMVs, but one that has really caught my eye is Tiberium Icestorm. They’re amping up the visuals of C&C3 and adding a mix of Tiberian Sun, C&C3, and Tiberium (the FPS) art styles and designs.

NODSOLDIERGIRL: The main mod that has impressed me the most would have to be Renegade-X. This mod has come so far, its fun to play. Its the Renegade 2 that was never made. I absolutely love it. These guys have worked really hard on it, Renegade-X really turned out. Great Job guys and keep up the awesome work!

Nathancnc: Renegade X has impressed me very much. I loved the original Renegade, and Renegade X (for the UT3 engine) does great justice to the original game. I went out and bought Unreal tournament just to play it. The other mod that I love is Dawn of the Tiberium Age. I love the classics, and this mod brings Tiberian Dawn back on the Tiberian Sun engine. I uses original graphics, but the advantages of the TS engine are great. The newest release has an “advanced mod” which puts an interesting spin on the game.

Question 5) More and more sites in the C&C community (and outside of it) are embracing services such as Twitter and Facebook. Is this sort of social networking good for our community or just another passing fade?

Sonic: I can only answer this from my perspective, they way I see it and why I use them. I don’t see it as trend. If your running a fan site and you want to people to visit your site you have provide ways to spread your coverage. And that means embracing new things like Twitter. CNCNZ.com has been on Twitter since May 2009 and I’ve found it very useful for spreading CNCNZ.com news and features, as well as news coming back in my direction from the around the community and from APOC. With that said I don’t like Facebook but yeah CNCNZ.com is on there, but its nothing really to do with me. But that goes back to my first point. By getting CNCNZ.com on Facebook and Twitter we have given our visitors more avenuses to source their C&C news from. So its good for our community, and if you don’t like them don’t use them, no one is forcing you use them.

Nmenth: I do not doubt they are good for the community, but I want no part with them. They are a current fad, as for passing, I don’t think it will come quickly, they will probably just become so commonplace in society that they no long hold an interest. Facebook will probably still be around a decade from now (not sure about Twitter), but something existing in the background rather than in the frontlines.

Banshee: I think it is just a passing fade. At some point, people will get bored of it or move into another social network. Perhaps Twitter will last longer, since it is inovative and provides a quick glampse on things. But let’s hope I’m very wrong about it and all these things will last longer than I think.

Chickendippers: Well as long as people continue to use sites like Facebook and Twitter I think it will continue. It’s not something I have chosen to adopt for CnCWorld, but I do recognise it as a useful tool for communicating news to visitors in my day-job.

Ryan: Who knows? I think sites like Twitter and Facebook may pass with the years, but the general concept of social networking, I’d guess, is probably here to stay. Should the community embrace it? Absolutely; why not?

Mighty BOB!: Yes and no. It can be used to quickly disseminate news and possibly to gain a larger following, but the catch is that people have to be aware of it and also subscribed to it. I personally despise Twitter and I only use Facebook for staying in touch with friends, not for groups or following news.

NODSOLDIERGIRL: Since the fan sites and more of the Community went to Twitter and Facebook we are trying a new tactic. If we put our sites out there in the social media more people will see it more and come visit…. or ask questions like “What is C&C?” So I think its a great idea to get your sites and communities out there. As for how long it will last no one really knows it might not last that much longer. It could go on forever. I guess we just have to believe its going to live forever, for now we wait and see what happens in the future.

Nathancnc: I think its good for the community! When I don’t have much time to see what is new, I just check my twitter on my mobile and can get up to date in a second. On the other hand, even though ther sevises are great, I do belive it will soon die down and pass.

Disclaimer: The views expressed by each individual in the Roundtable Discussion are their own, and do not reflect the official view of CNCNZ.com, unless otherwise stated.

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