Frontline Tactics–Modern warfare at one turn at a time.

Steam’s free-to-play category is filling up every so slowly with new game titles. Looking through it and finding games to play, I decided to playing Frontline Tactics. It’s a recent addition to the store, but a fun and challenging one. With single player, multiplayer and co-op elements; the game does require strategic thinking and planning which makes every move and important one. 

If you’re playing on PC, the 1.03 version is way below the 300mb size when installed onto your computer making this very lightweight in terms of storage. Textures in-game are low quality but are detailed to illustrate the environment around your units and the units themselves are detailed to recognize some of the stats they represent. Installed and ready to go, you have the opportunity to register an account in game to use the game server for co-op and multiplayer.

In single player, you can build up your units through missions. Gaining credits in missions, for every win you also become one win closer to unlocking something. That something is four things; credits, single player maps, game modes, and more units. Under single player mode, you get 4 random missions to choose to play. The maps at the beginning are very small map. After 5 wins or completed missions, you are offered and unlock which you can choose out of 2 tiers which can be unlocked in any order you choose them from. As you progress, the missions will randomly generate based on what game modes you have unlocked and enemies will generate based on units you own. For example, if you have a unit with A weapon and another unit with B weapon; the AI will be equipped with weapons A and B. So when your units get decked out with all the highest level items, the enemy units will spawn a variety of weapons that you have at your disposal. The units you make in single player can be carried over in multiplayer and co-op so the rifleman you’ve been building can used in co-op. To get more weapons and abilities, you have to unlock them by spending credits and credits are gain through the co-op and single player modes by completing missions which sounds simple, but after awhile the cost of everything goes up and it starts to be more of a money farm. Of course, the game shop sells credits for real life currency.

In the multiplayer; there are only two modes, co-op and VS mode. VS mode is straight on an elimination match between x amount of units from player 1 and x amount of units from player 2. From the looks of it, not much in terms of balancing at of version 1.03 so you can potentially find yourself at a loss when you enter one of these games. Upside to this game mode is currently there are no rewards given for these matches. It’s kind of like a practice PvP kind of deal, only thing you get out of it is the pride of winning against someone. Cooperative mode is a mix up with single player and multiplayer. You have a randomly chosen game mode and map, under public co-op you are also partnered with a random player as well. The deal breaker is even on larger maps, each player is restricted to 3 units while single player allows up to 9 units (so far).

Overall, the game is pretty fast pace for a turn based strategy especially when it comes down to playing with people who are actually online and not just checking in for moves and such. The game on Steam seems very new so there is potential for additional content if the developers want to make more. Also the price of zero dollars and zero cents makes it a nice little addition to your list of games on your Steam account which is also free. If you’re into the whole modern warfare thing and turn based strategy, I would recommend trying this game.

See you all in-game!


Progress – 4. More. Days.

After much trial and error, I have set up and prepped my new blog for the Star Trek Online launch date. So far not much exception for some roleplay pages and categories set up. From layout to planned content, I am excited to write down some fiction.

During my teen years, I was never enthusiastic about writing. Probably because of academics restrictions on zero tolerance to violence. Maybe. But when the mind wanders away from a path, inspiration is always an inviting guide. I guess that is where most of my creativity comes from, external forces beyond a rigid structure of rules and policies. No topic, no order, just look deeply to the sky and pluck a thought like a tulip. Though little experience I might own to bestow on my work in the past. I think in the past year I have honed a bit of my language to bring something worth sharing. No doubt, you read it. Somehow there is some thrill about blogs that have driven me to write. Even in misguided thoughts seems to contain vast branches of small thoughts. With beginning and no end, blogging to me now seems more relevant tan that bright eyed student stepping into Introduction to Business Technology over six years ago. Every day, I’m lucky to have guys and gals reading for I am happy to provide.
Fiction; I’ve never devoted time to it as I should. Wrote many, but only took pride in one. I’m glad this leap into roleplay will guide me into fiction. A new blog and a new sense of challenge, I am definitely going to wrote my fictitious heart out. So much content, so much time to be devoted to a linguistic art.
Wow, diversions to diversions. The new blog, it is all up and running. Currently all it needs is names and places from the game. Starting of course the main content being my character. Currently an unnamed and nonexistent captain of a unnamed and nonexistent starship, those are the shoes to fill. Also I am considering using some of my blog place for images. Thought it is more likely I will use as much of my cloud computing space already at my disposal.
Aside as the roleplay of my character’s personal entries, there is more I am considering to add. Let me know about these:

  • After action reports of battles and activities like missions and such.
  • Ship status reports when working on long term missions.
  • Transcribed subspace transmissions, conversations between captain and a second party. Kind of like those scenes from all the Trek series with a talking head.
  • Encrypted transmissions (Roleplay giveaway system?)

Though it’s not my goal to write something to take an hour to read, but should be something to provide insight to the operations of the ship from the perspective of the captain.

Currently, I don’t want to link that blog. One thing, it is locked out to prevent prying eyes and the URL is a random name until I can find out the name of the character I will have. Probably by the 18th, there will be a blog post plus filler. If I can make a character on the 17th, definitely the URL will be resolved.

Let me know what you guys think about my roleplay blog. Leave me a comment below or email me.

Happy Friday!

Ready To Play With Me? Invite Sent!

It’s no surprise if you’ve been following my blog for some time that you know I LOVE games. One of my great obsessions. Like women and clothes, I got my games. Recently I had an nice interesting thought of what I should do as a small token of my appreciation. So rather than chatting about games, how about you play some with me?

Yes, it’s an open invitation to join me into play two games for now since I have my eye on two. And as an inaugural event on my blog being both a first event and first invitation to play alongside with me.

So get ready to mark down your calendar:

First Friday Fun Fest (Battlefield 3)

December 9 – Player ID “nawkcire”, I’ll be in North American servers with “PBBans”. Use the search filters to find which servers have it. If you can’t get in, it’s cool just put yourself in queue if there is one.

Every Friday (except Fridays landing 3 days before or after a statutory holiday) thereafter.

Star Trek Online F2P Launch Party (Literally!) – More info in January!

January 17 (also reserve 18/19/20 in case server problems prevent us from playing) – More info of my Player ID.

As for VOIP if you wish to hear and play, I’ll definitely set up a RaidCall server so we can all play. Likely max 50 people on it but still enough. You can get the client and set up an account for free at It’s not a shameless plug, I’m just too poor for TeamSpeak and not intelligent for Ventrilo. More info on the server info when we get the ball rolling. Though Battlefield has it’s own VOIP so we might use that instead for Friday Fun Fest.

I’m also setting up a guild/fleet type deal for Battlefield and Star Trek Online. Anyone interested, please contact me. My contact info is in my About Me page, you can comment if you don’t want to email me. That reminds me, I need to make a page for that.

I’m excited to play with you guys since I would like to have a group of people to play with rather by myself. So whether you are anonymously following, stumble upon this, or just been following for awhile now, here’s your chance on some adventures with a fellow blogger. As the new year rolls in, I’ll have a more appropriate schedule for stuff. Until then, let’s just take it slow with Battlefield and Star Trek.

See you guys in game!

Call Mario, we got a problem with the plumbing!

For the most part, the MMO’s now definitely planned on how to distribute in-game wealth among the players. And for the most part, it works since no one is gaining excessive amount of gold, credits, what-have-yous to increase prices on items. Usually that balance of needs and wants play critically in game economies. However there are some of those that seem to not get the picture.

Let us start of simply in game terms. A “sink” is a form of transaction where most of the funds will be placed into as a form of maintaining inflation. For those who are slightly off centre about what this is about; put money in and you can buy things at around the same price. Whether it is that magical staff or a simple health potion. Realistically of course a lot of other factors put into prices in the game of choice; rarity levels, player base level, item demand and collection difficulty are just some miscellaneous factors that can define what is pricey and what is easy to receive. By in large, equations don’t put it in the cost and sell price. Usually what comes down to it is supply and demand. How many people are buying in and how many items are going in.

There are lots of thing to throw off the economic equilibrium. Most to be seen is usually the inherit systems hard-coded. Benefitting the player than penalizing them. Thus why money sinks are usually handy to have around especially preventing players from gaining the necessary gear to overpower whatever they achieve (instances, PvP etc.) It’s a good thing they rewards come around and put you in a euphoric state of accomplishment. However it can grow tiresome if it’s simply too easy to complete.

Sinks however can easily be build around any other existing system that may push beyond the boundaries of storyline and technical expertise. But lets just take something super simple as an example, quest rewards. So lets just say there was a repeatable quest that yield a large chunk of change per turn than other means, this is going to be used most often. Of course this is farming, but what if the quest was accidently extremely easy? Then there would be an influx of money going into the population (even if it’s just one guy doing it, it’s money that goes to everyone sooner or later.) And now since this increase in productivity there, there would hardly be anyone gathering or crafting items which results to in marginal product yield, not a lot is going into auction house and so forth. Now the human component; players notice this influx of money spent in shop and they do what is necessary to keep up with demand. Usually demand would be way too high to match so they raise the price. Now imagine throughout the prices of everything increasing, because of this. players would spend more time farming than playing the game in its entirety. So with this overflow that would never end, it would just slowly go out of hand. This here would then spill into other aspects of gameplay, like how teams would be organized and how overall fun factor would be. In the end; the result would likely be decreases in server population and even just people not caring to really play and just farm money (albeit from gold farmers or just self collection).

Now sinks on the other hand are put in to do one thing and one thing only, scoop up the overflow. This could be cost increases to guild stuff, even an upkeep cost. As well to this even solo-based sinks through systems like in-game marriages, transportation cost, certain quests requiring input of money (I haven’t seen it myself but it happened somewhere) and even larger implementation of customization to fend off the impending spill. This is not the only way to makes money sinks in a game.

Some games even implement credit exchanges where players can trade in game money into credits or point bought with cash. Usually this is pretty good from what I’ve seen to stem it since cash stores usually provide interesting items to purchase but it should be enticing to let player buy into it. This works superbly when there are only two forms of currency in the system, cash based (you buy with your real money) and time based (the gold, credit, silvers, coppers, and whatever you folks may name it).

How about we throw a wrench into this and say it was a 3-currency system where the third is only gained from dungeon raids and such, lets examine this. Say if it was exclusive to these raids and so forth and this system takes over most of the economic purchases in game. Then you have a problem with demand since everyone needs these dungeon coins to buy their next piece of gear. Now you’re back where you started with a cash sink but with this cash which devalues the previous system especially if the items are exceptionally better. Now for the sake of argument, this coinage is non-transferable (you can’t trade it). Now it’s exactly the same situation even without thinking about it since players will farm the instances to receive them to buy the better gear and old game currency would be used for anything requiring the currency and nothing more. Now, you will have a high demand of these tokens and low demand of credits (for the sake of argument, lets just say they’re credits). Now any player driven economy will increase price to meet demand, back to square one.

Though I only played a bit as a trial, I did notice this about Star Trek Online and other games where there are lots of currencies in game (at this time, before free-to-play). Marks, honor, latinum and energy credits (the main currency). By the end from what I’ve heard and read, players have accumulated millions of credits just because of the fact of the low demand of use to them compared to other items in game. The crash has been noticed and being fixed for the next chapter of this sci-fi MMO. With a 3-currency economy (chill…the third is just a novelty currency), personal prediction says it’s going to go fairly well. Contra to that would be Global Agenda where instance coinage dominates all the shop purchases with basic gear to be sold with the main game currency received in game. Biggest bastardization would be that to be use these credits in the auction house would be to buy a subscription to use it which already provide you with points to purchase the gear you desire therefore rendering auction house and credits to token economic needs. Maybe it should have a bit a sink that free players can take advantage of; like I don’t know, auction house for all? I’m not a genius but I know when you’re doing it wrong.

The lesson here to take into mind the next time you log on to your point and click games is that what you do and how you do it affects the economy. Maybe not so hard but if a large number does the same, it can have impacts that can wreck the economy in-game. Not saying it’s fully you’re fault, just saying there is a reason why that rare weapon is worth millions of gold.

Found a failed game economy and want to share it? Feel free to comment! Until next time…

Star Trek Online: “…well…we got boned..”

Just yesterday, Cryptic released the free-to-play model. Excited at first, I began reading it and noticed not lot has changed. However for certain things I’m a little iffy around considering on content and service. I would definitely would post my feedback on their forums; but after a few minutes of reading the posts, my elit-o-meter went from “friendly people” to “selfish asshole” (pardon the language). Though not set in stone, I thought I share with players who stumble upon this post and have similar views to the current proposed play model.

Here’s what’s wrong the model. First off, silver accounts receive a 48/48 inventory/bank slot deal. Sounds fair I totally agree with you. After looking over all the items in game that you would keep because either you worked hard on it or you want to change up you style, it’s going to take up 25% of you inventory and up to 50% with the upcoming content additions (and stuff you just want laying around in case). Meaning either your inventory is going to be full of stuff you want to keep on you or you bank will be full that anything after goes to your inventory. I find this to disturb me for the fact that I use my inventory for consumables and items I might want to switch on the fly. Wouldn’t be a problem if you can stack all items; but as a future player and a veteran to the MMO experience we all live and share, we know weapons and armour most of the time never stack.

Fleets, guilds if you want to be blunt, are limited to silver players. To me, don’t really care. However as a future fleetie or fleet master, this may get you kicked in the balls courtesy of Cryptic. One thing I’m hoping not limited is the ability to start and manage. One thing limited in my opinion should be the leave and disband cooldown before you can make or join another one. I find people who just start and stop only to start straight after. Of course gold accounts should have this as well but a shorter amount of time. Other than that, building game assets and the like should be on a paid basis.

Energy credits, also know as your in-game money from what I’m ready from, will be limited. Questionable of how much you are capped off at but likely the worst idea in the whole list of features. Simply put, not worth your time Cryptic to be coding this. Even if it just 1 million credits as a limit, still not worth it.

Foundry which is their user generated content feature where you can make you own maps and missions. I don’t mind getting this locked out as long as I can play the content. Though I think silver accounts should get a little sneak preview of what you can get to do. Like maybe just restrict assets and allow only one map to be published? I think that should give the silver players a chance to see what they’re missing out on rather than putting a damn brick wall in the way.

Veteran rewards, don’t care. Mostly cash shop items anyways. Server priority, okay don’t mind if I can get in with one full server (…jerk.) Vivox voice chat ads, I don’t care, I’ll use Raidcall. I get three 50 man servers anyways. Screw your one channel.

In-game chat and mail. Here they don’t say much about what they’re doing. Hopefully only world chat/zone chat (as in sector-wide chat and server chat) is locked out. Totally unnecessary and childish for everyone to be given such a privilege to only abuse it. And yes I’m saying that as a matter of fact because it’s always abused. Example? Runes of Magic world chat trolling, it’s there…go now, I’ll wait for you…you see it? Yeah, pretty annoying eh?. Moving on to mail, hopefully nothing insane like you can send items to other players. That just sucks especially if you want to sell your gear for credits. Best idea would be no transferring of premium items from cash shop or no mass emails.

Forums and customer service restrictions. Forums should be open to all for feedback and whatnot, why must you code this? And for customer service, I hope they don’t mean that “oh sorry, you can’t help you since your a silver account user” crap. I’ve been in those games and it’s annoying when I need something done because I’m bugged and they can’t help you because you’re a second class citizen to them. One thing they should really do is priority ticketing, meaning gold accounts get their support tickets service first; just like the whole priority login deal. Don’t shaft us with this or “Sorry, I will resent playing because you provide inadequate service to this type of user.”

Now to the elitism of some of these player. I admit, they’re hardcore. They bought a game and rolled the 100+ dollar dice bet and they got a year to play. Good for them, they are now the veterans we can all look up to when we play. Not all are happy with the new subscription set-up. From what I’ve read, LTS (Life Time Subscribers) claim double butt hurt for having all their items available for purchase. First of all, you got them free; quit whining. Secondly, you don’t play squat therefore gold account forever for you. Also read on the bottom beside “Monthly Stipend”. You’re getting 400 cryptic points for a month for life. Meaning you can buy them whenever you please which brings us to the whole “exclusive item” double butt hurt claim. For people who already dished out over a year of subscriptions for a lifetime, you guys complain without logic. I hope your character is not Vulcan, poser.

Like I said, most of these are not finalized features for the model according to They’re waiting on feedback on the players which in this case are the LTS and monthly subscribers which would ultimately represent the other 50% of the server population. To the monthly subscribers, I hope you do argue for some of these points on their forums. You guys are voting with your wallets and I respect that, show some maturity and fight for those without much of a voice. To the lifetime people, learn from the monthly subscribers; be humbled with what you have received (it’s better that you do than crying to mother every day). To to my fellow silver users, I hope I see you all and maybe have a meet up for a couple raids or something. Definitely like some social interaction in my MMO. See you all in game!

OMG F2P or DLC WTF? LFG plz n ty (Nerded over my title…sorry)

So there has been a few interesting developments in terms of games within the first half of the year. Though it was predicted a few years back that free to play would be more high calibre and more diverse than the previous games that came before. Business models now accommodate two main trends in gaming now for PC and console games; DLC and F2P.

First off to those that are just tuning into the world of mainstream video games. What are DLC’s and F2P’s? First DLC are downloadable content features for games which are previously released. Like a game within a game or an expansion pack, usually they require you to own the original to play the DLC though some break that barrier and go with a standalone DLC meaning you can play it without the original game. F2P or Free To Play games have a unique approach whereas rather than buying this puppy on the shelf, you can download it freely and play it right off without payment (except your electricity bill and internet). Most of the time, F2P games contain some sort of microtransaction store within the game or on their website to purchase virtual goods with real life funds. From a F2P gamer, my opinion is partly split but towards these games to be more jokingly P2W for play to win. Though depends how greedy the developers and publishers are when they made the game. Of course there are rare exceptions to this though I haven’t encountered such, but most games you see today are sitting in either camp. On computer and in console, you see this everywhere. To name a few titles Grand Theft Auto IV and Grand Theft Auto IV: Episodes of Liberty City, Half Life 2 and it’s 2 (and maybe it’s third) episode, and because of the recent title launch Fear 3 (or is it F3ar?), Fear 2 and Fear 2:Reborn all have done successfully to go down once more with a DLC or expansion. I think it’s due to it’s well received reviews on their title to weigh their worth to the consumer to continue playing with similar content. Usually the DLC’s don’t make more than the original but they do rack up more money to continue with a new project. However some do it for the popularity which draws them the consumers needed to generate the money to continue like large publishers like IJJI, Nexon and GPotato send out lots of genre based MMO’s to sell to everyone to focus more solely on the compounded gain. Some however make it on their own though like Runes Of Magic and SAGA, but hardly receive the same treatment unless coming from a die hard fan base.

Those days are numbered for those into the subscription based games and the “hot shot” companies who can sell at the near 70 dollar mark for a DVD or CD. Games are becoming more common and more easier to produce. Don’t believe me? Type in “Crysis SDK” and “UDK” into Google, you’ll find communities of the average gamer with some design background creating games from blockbuster game engine developers. Some I’ve played and do compete with what you can buy. While under F2P, I wouldn’t call these games that just yet considering these seem more into projects than a full fledge games. However with the power of popularity, it’s almost irresistible to not get into the free to play market. Few instances now have some companies turning into this area to try and entice some gamers to come back and attract newer ones into their games.

A few I know off the top of my head is Bohemian Interactive who have developed Armed Assault and ArmA 2 have unveiled a beta test of their new free to play ArmA 2: Free which is free with some minor exceptions; mostly low-end graphics and you only have multiplayer without mod support so you’re stuck with just the game as it is. Team Fortress 2 from Valve has gone free to play with a microtransaction store in the game, I haven’t found what they’ve changed besides the business model yet (best guess is drop rate decreases). And in this menagerie of games, Age Of Conan is an MMORPG which along with it’s more mature release; it went free to play for all to enjoy.

So who’s now left standing that might face a crippling defeat from such an intangible object? From the few games I know that are subscription based, it’s a hard fight to stay alive now. Not that you’re competing for what’s left, but you’re competing with your own demise. This is how I see from today and in about 10 years down the line. World Of Warcraft, probably not in 5 years but might lose subscriptions in about 7 years from now to force server merges. Doing pretty good but at 14 bucks a month, there are others about to take your place for free with optional features. Large franchised games like Call Of Duty and Halo, maybe not in 9 years but you have to really push hard and be absolutely flawless to beat out anyone making some good shooters in the same genres. Cryptic Studios who have made Champions Online for free, good work on moving on but Star Trek Online’s going to get more people playing if it went free as well (or at least one more since I’m into the Trek). And to an open letter to anyone with a subscription based game remaining or require a payment to play (like Guild Wars), really recommend getting on this band wagon  if you wish to stay on top or have a game that can be your foot in the door.

Who wins out; DLC or F2P? It’s a touch call from where I look at it. DLC’s pride themselves for expanding storyline and game aesthetics, really pushing out every dime they have to get back the same reviews. At the end of the day, you can’t keep selling DLC’s for 20 bucks for over 10 years, something’s going to give; it’s the game or the company. F2P on the other hand is much more scalable in terms of the people employed to develop and deploy the game. Downside to this is the method in which you place yourself in a financial mercy of your players and fans to purchase goods for real money over a longer term at a cheap price. In my opinion, F2P is a risk but a manageable one if you know exactly how to sell a product that can provide joy to many for many more years, all you have to do is sell it cheaply  but reasonably so you’re not losing out on a business opportunity and remember that each person who sees the game world is likely the next person to buy that exclusive cash store pet you just put up a day ago.

The stage is set for another round of revolutionizing games and how they’re played. It’s anyone’s game!

UPDATE (June 29): You sure shut me up Blizzard, well done.