Magic Lasers

In the rare WoW space, but given the sort of apples to orange dialogue in my mind. These are “final” expansion overviews.

  • Vanilla – Heroes win! No lasers.
  • WoLK – Frostmourne laser, and then Tirion’s laser
  • Cataclysm – Green jeebus shoots a magic laser on Deathwing
  • MoP – Heroes beat Garrosh! No lasers.
  • WOD – Archimonde uses the green laser to close the portal
  • Legion – Space laser takes out Sargeras
  • BfA – Titan laser takes out N’Zoth
  • SL – dollars to donuts pretty darn clear that a laser made of the 4 zones is going to take down the bad guy

There are a half dozen Blizzard tropes over the years, the redemption arc being top of pile. But the dependency on lasers, and in particular lasers not used by the heroes, wasn’t one that really came to mind. I mean, you are a player are there, but you’re more of a peon or an enabler of someone else.

This came to mind as I was working through the FF14 MSQ, where the game goes to great lengths to make you the agent of change, even on the final battles. Nidhogg goes down at the end of Heavensward, but the cinematic has you pulling the stuff from the remaining dragoon. Not that FF14 spends all it’s time in the concrete, it is a story about the struggle between the god of light and that of dark. There are some really “out there” scenes.

I get that I’m in a sort of honeymoon phase here. No different than when you get a new car, or change jobs. Things that you normally take for granted really start popping out (blind spots in cars… that’s a pet peeve). It’s clear that FF14 took massive inspiration from WoW, just like WoW did from EQ, and EQ from UO, and so on. Just like Toyota took inspiration from Ford, or Yamaha from Harley. And in those last 2 cases, ended up doing better than their inspirations.

FF14 – So Many Buttons

The GCD in FF14 is 2.5 seconds. It can feel like molasses as compared to pretty much any other game on the market. And yet, given the mechanics, I can’t really see how that goes faster without a whole bunch of compound issues. Most MMOs are so complex and intertwined, that one change in in an area can have multiple consequences elsewhere.

First to me is the sheer volume of choice in any class toolkit. Take a look at a Dark Knight guide, in particular the opener’s list. I get that this is super optimized and FF14 really doesn’t requite that much planning in general, but the volume of buttons is the big one. With that many choices, it takes time for the human brain to process which one should be used in a given situation. Dropping the GCD turns this into more of a twitch-based gameplay, and some choice paralysis. It’s less optimization and more plain ol’ survival. As a White Mage, I have 2 full bars of things to press, often things that do similar things but on different timers. Compared to my Monk in WoW who had half that total that mattered.

Folks that are running multiple jobs/classes, hats off on the toolbar management!

The second bit that’s been covered a lot is the “don’t stand in the fire” structure of the game. FF14 tripled down on the AE attacks that are telegraphed well ahead of time, and often they are constructed in such a fashion that they are 1 hit KO effects. In most cases, you want to stop any cast/wind up activity to get out of there, potentially using another one of your buttons to absorb that attack. Assuming you are avoiding those attacks, and you’re not a tank (tank buster moves can do 40%), there are very few cases where people should die in combat. I forgot how much I enjoyed this model, where it actually removes ownership of player death from the healer and moves it to the individual players. The core here is on damage avoidance.

I need to compare to WoW here, on this particular topic. True, a lot of damage can be avoided by brain power on the DPS, but the game is also constructed in that most difficulty curves are based on unavoidable damage. And the mechanics of the game are such that this fact doesn’t become evident until you’re 2 steps from the finish line. The core here then becomes on damage mitigation.

The third bit, the one that isn’t truly evident until you’re well into the game, is that the game forces you to adopt a slower pace and it reduces the overall stress level of the game. You are rarely presented with more than 1 problem to manage at a time. and then a good chunk of time to digest the situation, think of options, make a decision, and then execute that action. If you die quickly, the feedback is instantly related to a telegraphed area attack. It becomes more intuitive and less on hidden mechanics where you need to consult a combat log to make sense of events. By dropping the stress levels, that has massive impacts on the group dynamics. It’s the difference of fighting a grease fire in your kitchen and painting your walls. If the doorbell rings, you are likely to have a much different reaction given those 2 starting conditions.

From a game design perspective, FF14 really is an interesting case study in looking at a given state as inspiration, figuring out how it could map to your design principles, and then consistently apply that thinking forward. It’s like a foundational bit here is “make sure people get along”. Oh there are plenty of bumps in the road, no question, but jeebers it’s fun to see a different set of answers to the same sort of problems.

Ignore the Base

Canada is in the midst of a weirdly (by any objective aside from political) timed election. It’s relatively short, some 32 days long before we all head to the polls. Which is fun because some countries spend half their term in the election cycle, meaning they only work half the time on their actual mandate (at best).

First, the basis that Canada has generally been a fiscally conservative and socially liberal country. There’s been a general sharing of power across the parties for a very long time, with both offering centrist platforms.

As with many countries, there are polarizing bits within the nation. We are a physically large country, but 80% of the entire population lives within the US border and urban centers. Proportional representation clearly favors one side, while equal representation would dramatically shift the national agenda. In the olden days, this was less of an issue as the matters of a local area didn’t often conflict at the national level – groups were relatively self-sufficient. In the post-Thatcher/Regan era of global multi-corporations + the massive proliferation of social media the world has shifted nearly completely and within a generation. The ‘financial hubs’ of our country have pushed a particular agenda, and well, the other parts are stuck playing catch up, if at all. This dissonance causes anger because people feel (are) ignored.

I am overly simplifying between urban and other settings. It’s dramatically more complex.

Each political party has a base. In a multi-party system, this base can shift around a bit. In a 2 party system, the bases don’t move. In Canada, we have 2 right-wing parties, and 3 left-wing parties. Only 1 of each wing has ever held national power, the wings that are closer to center and therefore have a wider base. The fringes of a given wing have typically been inconsequential due to lack of size. That said, as we’ve all learned, there is a very loud minority out there. The crazies have no shame after all (and the echo chamber effect cannot be ignored).

The current regional polling reflects this space. Where the numbers are similar at a national level, you have a federal platform. Where the numbers shift dramatically, you have a local platform. The CPC (right wing) absolutely dominates the prairies, where there are very small urban centers. This is their base, and even if the platform was to shoot laser kittens into the sun, they would still have the base come out and vote. This is due to the lack of competition (the PPC is at 3% national support and super fringe), and the community aspects at play. They could even come out with the most left-wing idea, and they’d still get the base out. But they haven’t. Up until this summer, their platform was entirely focused on their base which has meant a shift further to the right. Their new leader however, has really ruffled feathers by leaning to center with the platform. The ‘old guard’ and vocal minority are all over this, but the proof as the say, is in the pudding.

The left is more complex, as they share the remainder of the pie. The Liberals have used this to their advantage in eating into the more left-leaning party’s social platforms. Where the party was generally more controlled on the financials, that’s been all out the window to support social growth programs. They leveraged the fact that the right was going further to the extreme and ‘centrists’ would generally favour their platform (which the last 30 years has signalled). It didn’t matter what they had as a platform, they could just point and say ‘the right wants to stop abortion’ and that would be the end of that.

Not today! The right’s platform has practically ignored their base and put almost all their chips in the middle. That has thrown the left’s thinking that this was a slam dunk election out the window. It’s still leaning left for now, and more because there are a LOT of base voters that will vote against a party rather than for one – strategic voting is the term often used.

I remember reading Foundation when I was younger and fascinated at the concept of psycho-history – that numbers could predict actions, at large scale numbers. To me, this particular development was expected, just that the timing of it is a tad earlier. Most of this is generated from the situation with our southern cousins and the ever growing divisive political situation. It is hard to articulate how much Canada wants to avoid being seen emulating the US system. The shift back to centre was sorely needed, and this is just the first act in that rebalancing.

Regardless of the results of this election, it’ll be fascinating to see how this modifies the party platforms in the future. And I haven’t even started on the generational shift underway now…

FF14 – Quest Tourism

My brain is having trouble accurately remembering the ARR quest line. I know that we all love to bash WoW’s hit and miss storyline management, but FF14 really takes the cake in terms of WTH moments. The good news here is that with 30 years of FF games to reference, this isn’t exactly weird. It’s the opposite really.

Calling back to FF7 for a minute, I still recall the jarring view once I left Midgard. The tone of the game changed as the scope went wide. And the Midgar Zolom (the 100 ft fire breathing snake, impaled on a stick) still is etched in my skull. FF6’s World of Ruin was like playing a 2nd game, with a different set of rules. Zozo still kicks butt! FF13’s resurrection bit. Cloud of Darkness. The whole Yu Yevon / Dreamer set up. Garland being Chaos started it all off. FF likes to go one way, then throw something on the table that changes the context of the adventure. You think you’re doing these steps for one reason, but some reveal occurs and you find out it’s a whole lot bigger.

What I find really interesting here is that FF14 continually puts you front and center in all of this. Sure, there are factions and leaders and villains, but the whole storyline is about your impact on that world. There’s no NPC that magically jumps into battle with super nukes that you go ga-ga for. This gives the appearance of player agency in the world. You even get prompted for dialogue options. Now, the reality is that there is no agency and everyone gets the same storyline, but your experience is shadowed enough to give a positive impression.

One of the interesting quirks of FF14 is that it’s very terrestrial – or at least will be up until the moon expansion. You never feel like “this is the entire world”, as there always seems to be something about “over the horizon”. The leveling process is fractured, in a sense, in that it moves you around the world on a fairly linear path. The MSQ forces you to experience it a certain way. The closest to this is likely LOTRO, where you are following a story in acts. You are given clear instructions to go here, do this thing, talk to this person, and then most likely travel to the other part of the big map for the next bit. It’s quite jarring frankly, where the journey itself is more important than the character level associated with it.

It really is closer to the traditional FF games here in that sense. There wasn’t anything preventing you from grinding crazy levels early to smooth out the process later, or skipping levels to plow through at low levels. Those numbers acted more as a difficulty modifier to the main story line, which you never really could skip. Compared to the giant in the room, retail WoW is focused entirely at bringing people to the end state gate and then hoping for the best. There’s plenty of reasons for this… prime that FF14 has so many classes and only forces the MSQ once, while WoW forces you to repeat the content for any alt. There’s no way people would purposefully sit through all them again for FF14.

I’m still making my way through the 3.2 content and it’s really striking the fundamental differences here. It’s heavy handed and slow here, full of exposition. The opposite of the fast food buffet we see elsewhere. It’s also consistent and logical – in as much any fantasy setting can be. I’ll be keeping some pulse check on these story beats as I progress, but for now, it’s super refreshing.

FF14 – Server Loads and 2021

FF14 has a weird server architecture, at least by my understanding of how this should work. There are 3 data centers which impact overall latency, and each holds 8 worlds. To say that there’s been an uptick of players is an understatement… and the servers are struggling. Queues are present daily (you see your position, but not time estimate). S/E tried to fix this with a near 12 hour patch on Monday, with no real success (nor failure!)

As of this draft, of the 24 worlds, 12 of them will not allow new characters to be rolled – and one data center is completely locked. Side note, I transferred to this data center with less than 24 hours before they locked it…blame me I guess.

My field of work intersects with DC architecture. I know there are a lot of efforts to move out of the mid-00’s data center design, into the PaaS-type of design. This is not easy, as there are often specific lines of code in software that relies on specific OS/HW configurations. The ol’ hook/pull coding nightmare that all the cool kids thought was going to save the planet with their custom code. Upgrading is hard, you can’t break anything, and odds are you can’t fully test the load until you turn on the switch.

Yeah well, we’re still picking up the pieces of those decisions… and we’re going to be in a long tail of migration for a good chunk. Most large enterprises still have legacy code somewhere that they just can’t port over for A/B/C reasons after all. And in the gaming space, this particular code portability is the primary driver for sequels. No need to port if it’s brand new code!

Side note – a few years ago WoW updated their database architecture, which had a pretty darn big impact on skill calculations. They were using a DB structure that dated from Vanilla (well, more like 4 years prior to launch), and it was quite painful to move forward. They did it though! And the overall system load (if you read those reports) was significantly reduced. That requires some serious planning and smart people to deliver.

FF14, from the information that’s published, is talking about OS configuration issues and replacing some equipment with HPC. I do understand why they would not be moving to commercial cloud… that is a really bad idea for an MMO. Commercial (or even semi-private) cloud is absolutely not the silver bullet that some folks may believe – just like a buffet is not the best type of restaurant for all your food needs. Given the on-going supply chain issues, this is going to be a long-term effort to expand given capacity, let alone upgrade the components.

Hats off to S/E for the forthright nature in this issue. Fingers crossed that this is actually something they can actually address before November. Cause if queues exist before launch… well delaying launch is going to be right on the table.

FF14 – Main Story Quest

It’s an MMO, there are quests everywhere. FF14 still takes a rather unique path here as it’s a mandatory process to go through the story quest (MSQ) in order to unlock a bunch of features. This is somewhat different than other MMO’s, where the quests themselves are more of a step in order to reach max level, and that once you get that final ding, you can ignore all the levelling content.

I remember back when I did the ARR MSQ and was confused when I found myself forced to group at an early level. I had no real issues with the step, it’s an MMO after all, but it was still jarring compared to others. And that the game had an LFG tool built into the entire process was really something. It still remains one of the few MMOs that goes to great lengths to harmonize the leveling experience and the end-game experience… what you see at level 20 is pretty darn close to what you see at the end.

FF14 has “groups” of MSQ, those that are related to the leveling portion, and then the post-expansion patches. The former group is usually enough to get you to the max level for a given expansion (ARR had some gaps, not sure if still present). The latter group is meant to be a mix of storyline and dungeon reveal. Again, you need to go through this portion to unlock said dungeons in the LFG (roulette) tool, so you’re certainly motivated from a mechanical perspective.

The link above refers to the arches of the quests. Each can have 3-5 substeps within, and FF14 loves to have steps cross the map. Leveling, this isn’t too bad as it points you around. Post-leveling, it can be somewhat ridiculous to teleport everywhere for a 30s cutscene, only to return to where you were. The 3.1 content has 1 minor battle with 2 small enemies, then an instanced battle with support NPCs that takes about 20 minutes to complete. The whole 8 quest arc takes about 2 hours to get through – that’s a lot of exposition.

The length of the MSQ can be seen as a downside, especially for attracting new players who want to be with their friends. From ARR -> end of Shadowbringers, there’s close to 200 hours of content to get through. You can buy a boost to get to the starting line of Shadowbringers, which still leaves you with a good 40hrs or so. Yes, this puts a burden on the players to get to max content, but on the flipside, it also makes sure that they understand all the expansion mechanics and group functions. It eases the transition to end game, rather than creating a quit wall.

The sort of benefit here is that the MSQ only needs to be done once per character, meaning you can level any other job/class while just worrying about experience. People say WoW is alt-unfriendly, well FF14 is both the friendliest and most punishing. The only reason I can think of having an alt is if you want a different looking character. There are niche reasons (RP, more retainers, raid lockouts, FC farming) but those would really wait until you have many jobs at max level on a main. And sanity wise, if you want a different looking character, pay the $10 for the race change.

So now I’m 2 hrs into the max-level journey at 60, with 8/44 quests complete before Stormblood. There are 4 dungeons and 2 raids in there too, so the estimate to get through this is about 25 hours. Let the journey continue.

FF14 – Getting It Back

Last week I uninstalled WoW and D3. I tend to keep my desktop icons relevant to the active games that I play, or at least indicators of those that I should be playing. WoW has been on the desktop since beta. Looking back on my posts for WoW, aside from really liking the world/art/music, there hasn’t been a positive post on the state of the game since Legion. Cripes, that was nearly 5 years ago! The whole ABK was just that larger realization.

I figured I’d give FF14 a shot again. The irony here was that I had not played since just before Legion, so just before the mid-pack of Heavensward. Playing 2 MMOs at the same time, in the way that I play them, required just way too much time. Sunk cost in WoW and all… FF14 went on the shelf.

Getting back into FF14 meant a choice – start anew or where I left off. Having completed 2 entire expansions (and ARR is quite long), I figured I could better use that time with an account restore. To do so, I needed to remember my old password. Let’s not shy from the fact that Square-Enix has invested a total of $10.25 in web UX design. Finding anything that makes sense here is an exercise in frustration.

I did finally find the password recovery page, which has security questions. 2 days. That’s how long it took for me to enter the correct answer to the security question. The button for “forgot security answer” doesn’t go anywhere. The answers appear to be case sensitive. And it would appear that I was forced to reset my answers in the past, as this is the only place, across all similar questions, that I put in that specific answer (which came to me while doing something else).

With the account restored, I needed to figure out the rest of the bits and bobs on the account. Back to bad UX design, actually getting another expansion is a 3 step process. First, I need to figure out which one to buy… Endwalker says it includes it all, but you can’t actually access it until the game launches later in the year. Fine, base version of Shadowbringers it is (making sure it is NOT the Steam version, which I don’t think you can buy anywhere but Steam). Buy that, then realize that it isn’t linked to my account. I need to find the game key, then add it to my account. Ok, done. Now to add game time, which is another weird process (since there are 2 levels of accounts, one which supports alts, which are an insane option in this game).

FINALLY, all the bits in place to actually log in!

Did I mention that this meant multiple downloads? I get a quick start download to get the client running, but it’s multiple large Gb downloads after that. I can’t think of any other game or platform that does this. Sure, maybe you’ll get a day 1 patch after you’re pre-loaded the game. But this is not pre-load, and we’re at the tail end of the current expansion. ARGH.

This time, I’m able to log in. Brynhildr is where I set roots long ago. I log in to a barrage of visual spam. Where WoW is a ghost town in almost every area that isn’t the current expansion’s capital, FF14 has people a plenty. The neat part here was that it automatically prompted me to join a “returning players” channel. That was a nice surprise, and woooo, were there things in that chat which were helpful! Still, as much as I liked that character (and time invested) I wasn’t interested in staying there. I logged out and went through the relatively simple (again, horrible UX) process of transferring to another server – Cactuar.

That took about 15 minutes to process, and I was finally off to the races (or perhaps, re-learning the races). If I exclude the time it took for me to restore my account, getting the rest all set up was about 2 hours of work. Perhaps this is a relic of the Playstation UI to help players get in the game. Still, with a few month’s work and a relatively small investment, the UI for the store/account system could be dramatically improved. This feels like the same comment I made way back when. One can hope!

Next steps are all about following the MSQ through the 2 expansions. I don’t think I can get all of that done before Endwalker comes out. Where I could plow through WoW’s content in less than a week to get to end game, it’s more like 40+hrs per expansion here. Let’s see how much fun this ride can deliver.

12 Minutes

Way back in the olden days (2015), a conceptual game called 12 Minutes was pitched. The concept was that you’d be stuck in the same 12 minute time loop and need to find a way to break out. The game released on Thursday, and I dove in headfirst.

Time loop as a story mechanic is really hard to get right. You often need some sort of book to keep track of what’s going on. Only a few movies have tried it. Primer has like 40+ timelines on the go at one point. ARQ is a simplified time loop film, and really focuses on the anticipation of the next steps, similar to Edge of Tomorrow (which is almost a video game). Groundhog Day, well… that’s a form of hell if you think about it.

In terms of games with this model… is Mario Bros a time loop game? I mean, you die, and the loop restarts. Most incremental games have actions in one loop impacting the next. It’s so common we don’t think about it anymore. But in the strictest sense, where the purpose of the game is to break the loop, really Outer Wilds is the only one that comes to mind that did this in any way successfully. Like GotY successful.

That’s a heck of a bar to reach for any indie game! I guess that explains all the years of dev work. And the results…

A game that merges interactive fiction and point and click adventure mechanics, with incremental changes on each loop. There’s no “speed run” this game, you need to go through at least a dozen loops before you have enough bits and bobs to get close to the finish line. More than once I thought I was close, then quickly realized that the rabbit hole went even deeper.

The voice acting is solid (hard not to, how did they get these actors?), and there are some QoL aspects that let you speed through dialogue if you’ve heard it already. The graphics are passable, but it’s not like that truly matters in this type of game. Every puzzle has a logical answer, with plenty of breadcrumbs unveiled as the game goes. Even the music here is darn near perfectly placed to convey the emotional tone.

Side track on puzzlers for a minute. Some of them suffer due to size, or ridiculous solutions (Sierra!). 12 Minutes takes place in an apartment, one you can’t leave as it resets the loop. This smaller footprint dramatically reduces frustration as you know the answer is right in front of you, it can’t be anywhere else. And with only a dozen or so items to collect, it’s more about the order of using the items than the items themselves. Like if you do an action in front of an NPC, they will see you, but if you close the door, then you’re good to go. And if you’ve seen text before, it highlights in a different color, so you know what’s new or not. And the dialogue is the real puzzle here, every puzzle is about unlocking a new part of dialogue.

I will say that the only downside here is when you’re focusing on actions near the end of a loop and need to restart. Getting back to that point can feel a bit long, especially when you’re talking about 1 action that takes 2 seconds to perform. It does mean that you have to be considerate of time management and sort of plan out what you’re trying to do before you do it. There was a point where I was stuck in what felt the same loop for an hour, just not quite sure of where to go next. But that’s no different than being stuck in the belly of a whale, trying to tickle it’s “uvula”. 1988 and I am STILL ticked off at that.

I can’t talk about the plot at all. Really, any indication here would spoil the ride. I can say it’s a good ride, bordering on great.

I think the best compliment I can give 12 Minutes is that it’s one of the best examples of interactive fiction to come along in a long time, supported through a time loop mechanic that really delivers. This is the sort of game that can only come from an indie developer, and one I’m sure others will try to copy.

Free Guy

The tldr; is that this movie could not have possible worked without Fornite. Full stop.

If you enjoy Ryan Reynolds being himself, well then, you’re going to enjoy this movie. If you want a social critique on MMO behaviors, then yeah, this is the movie for you. If you’re looking for a film full of easter eggs and call-outs to gaming, then this is a thousand times more appropriate than Ready Player One.

I have no idea who was smoking what when this pitch came through. An NPC in an MMO gains sentience, and then the McGuffin quest to find proof of the AI. Sounds like a few people on a couch, enjoying the air, and then this comes out. Without Fortnite taking over the west, there’s no way for movie goers to even understand the fundamentals here. The whole over 49 demographic is going to come away from this with barely any understanding of what’s going on.

It is worth pointing out that Taika Waititi goes for the fences in this one. It’s so borderline absurd, it’s realistic to the immature genius of game development studios. That he doesn’t use an accent here, really let’s him lay into the kiwi vibe something fierce. There’s not a scene he doesn’t completely own.

This is also a weird movie with the romantic aspect is a key turning point. Fine, the epilogue is laying it on thick (more on this) in terms of the main characters, but it’s also an interesting twist plot-wise, that acts as a deux ex machina. Gamers understanding MMO technical limitations will find this particular scene a little tough to swallow, but in the larger scheme, it works.

The whole movie is about breaking a 4th wall (or I guess a 5th) in blurring the line between the art and the consumer. The epilogue just puts it all out there… log off and talk to people. Feels like a giant critique of streamer/gamer culture, which doesn’t feel like it’s heavy handed. It does feel like this is a more cartoony version of a Black Mirror episode, and packaged in such a way that people can take something away from it, aside from depression.

Call me pleasantly surprised with the balancing act this film achieves. Plus, you know, Ryan Reynolds.

MMOs – Time is a Flat Circle

An interesting bit from Stephan Frost, in relation to MMO development. If you recall, he was one of the leads on Wildstar, a spectacular example of MMO failure.

In the conceptual layer, the items described apply to any long-dev cycle of an evolving product, not just games. You’re competing against a finish line that is always moving, mainly because you’re competing against established market forces. Big bang successful launches are ultra rare in existing markets, they instead start small and grow over time. MMO’s are rarely given that luxury, as they are competing against expectations from long-established products. New World has 50 other MMOs to compare against… it’s got to be focused and refined to have a chance. You need a super clean vision and new flawless execution to have a remote change.

Wildstar, to kick that dead horse, had an incoherent vision and launched about 6 months too early. I had a blast in the leveling portion and really liked the crafting system. Hell, it had social housing and tons of cosmetics. It was a solid setting, with a decently solid 1-to-max experience. And then it shifted to the same place WoW has turned, the ultra competitive + fine tuned playerbase. It had no social tools for nearly a year, and all group content was either against a clock or required twitch reflexes to get through. Raids being only 20/40 was an insane choice that only works worse the farther we move away from it.

Could Wildstar have ever succeeded, even with more time in the cooker? I like to think so, as the bones were solid. Had social tools been there from the start, had the “timer” dungeons been an extra tier instead of the wall of quit (WoW ran with this as Mythic+), and had raids been much smaller, perhaps we’d be having a different conversation. People can understand balance issues at launch, but systematic issues are tougher pill to swallow.

Is this due to dev cycles, or poor vision? Maybe they just copied the wrong mechanics and should have pulled from FF14’s bag of tricks. I don’t think we’ll ever truly find out, at least not until there’s a deep dive on the topic with such a purpose.

Which is a right shame, as we’re seeing a larger push for games as a service, MMOs in nearly all respects, and those lessons just don’t seem to be learned. Or perhaps they are simply not being listened to while the bean counters run the show.