A new direction

 

Funny thing…it turns out that I couldn’t stop myself from talking or writing about PC FPS gaming.

Try as I might this summer, I did the best I could to stay away from ingesting even a morsel of gaming news.

From the emails I received, I know that many of you were dying to tell me what you thought about the CoD event in Cali this summer, the new Red Orchestra release or even the latest BF3 vids. Well I did my best to shut all of that out and I managed to wedge my fat melon as far down the ostrich hole as it would go…well, I guess it didn’t go as far down that hole as I had hoped. Stray bits of news did actually get to me and the old desire to write about what I read began to overwhelm me.

Don’t get me wrong…it was great not having to follow the news as closely as I had done these past five years. But, with the coming of the cooler weather, I can’t seem to fight the urge…and so here I am.

Oh…and I know what you’re thinking…what’s with the new digs? What happened to the ol’BASHandSlash.com site. What’s with this new WordPress site?

First off…dude…you ask a lot of questions!

Second, the old Joomla BASHandSlash.com site has not been touched. You can still find it here. There will be archival links to it, but for the foreseeable future, I’ve decided to head the WordPress route.

While the old site was “right” for what I wanted to do five years ago, that is, provide a place for hardcore PC gamers to share reference information that would enhance their gaming experience, I found it “wrong” for where I wanted to go in the future.

Well, gaming has changed a great deal in the past five years and the nature of the information that is important to us PC gamers has also changed.

Light and nimble, turn-key gaming is what it’s all about nowadays. The day of the PC gamer as a hobbyist modder or clan administrator is long gone. Game developers are giving us games that cannot be modified very much — or at all — and they are demanding that we bend to their way of play. In many cases, the “dedicated server” concept has either disappeared (MW2) or has morphed into a tightly controlled play area (MW3, BO, BF3…etc.). PC gamers are not coming to sites like this looking to download configs, or to find the latest mod anymore…they’re looking for opinions on the latest DLC, or to find out which gun is best, or to find the most efficient strats for a particular map.

Given these fundamental changes to the way we play and to what gamers are looking for in a gaming website, I thought it appropriate that BASHandSlash.com change.

Bye-bye BASH

First off, as you know, we jettisoned the ol’ BASH podcast.  An audio podcast never seemed an appropriate way to cover video gaming, but it was the technology we had…not the technology we wished for (to paraphrase Donald Rumsfeld). BASH was originally a CoD-only podcast that somehow morphed into a PC FPS gaming magazine show. We tried as best as we could to use the show to talk to developers and designers, but in the end, the cast became more of an advertising vehicle for mainstream gaming companies than the opinionated vehicle for gaming critique that I originally envisioned. It was right to put it out of its misery…better to have it die young and fast than for it to simply fade away.

For the record:

We buried it… on a hill… overlooking a little river… with pine cones all around.

OK. We didn’t. We wiped out all the casts being stored on our webcast server…I’ve got copies, but all 184 casts in the public domain are toast, except for some that will live on through UStream (for example, the infamous BASH 123 episode).

Bye-bye Joomla

As for the BASHandSlash.com website…yup, we’ve changed to a WordPress theme. By doing so, we are not only keeping up with web tech (which marches along quite fast these days), but we also can focus on providing content which matches the type and style of game we are playing.

Direction

Going forward, BASHandSlash.com will continue to offer insight into FPS games. Which games? That’s the really difficult question. I must admit that I’ve become disenchanted with some franchises.

Activision’s CoD:MW3 will probably be the first Call of Duty game that I will not be purchasing. I’ve gone through the reasons for this in the past, so I won’t regurgitate them here again (*cough* spam); however, I will say that many of the reasons I’ll give MW3 a wide berth parallel those in this article regarding why Budweiser isn’t really the king of beers anymore: link.

The new Battlefield 3 will be a major player this year and many of you can’t wait to buy this new EA game. I’m elated that this game is focused for the PC platform and I am so happy that my buddy Zh1nt0 and the BF devs will take it into the competitive gaming environment — it will be a key component to BF3.

Sadly, I don’t think I will be getting into BF3 in the near future.  The reasons have nothing to do with the game, but with time and money.

Red Orchestra 2: HOS? Mmmmh…not so much. Though the game looks good…I have limited interest in Tactical Realism right now. It never has been my thang and I probably never will get into it that deeply. Having said that, I cannot tell you how happy I am that my friends in the TR movement have something great to play.

So, if it’s not MW3, BF3 or RO2, then what?

Free-to-Play

This year has really been the year of F2P. The combination of cheap gaming engines, wanna-be game developers with too much time on their hands and the digital distribution capability of Steam has led us to a game changing situation. Many of the F2P games that came out this year are actually not bad.

One in particular, an FPS shooter that has been around for some time, ijji’s awkwardly named Alliance of Valiant Arms (AVA), is one of the better F2P shooters out there.

While I downloaded AVA a few years ago and nearly immediately deleted it off my hard-drive. Now that it is downloadable through Steam, I decided that I’d give it another go this year. I’m glad I did. AVA has been really good to me and I’ve been playing it quite a bit.

I won’t give you all the reasons for my fascination with AVA right now (I’ll be doing that soon…) suffice it to say that I’m hooked.

Given the state of the economy, F2P games are a perfect solution for the average, financially-struggling gamer.  F2P games typically have much lower basic system requirements and you won’t need the horsepower to run them as you would games like BF3. For most of us struggling to put venison on the table this day and age, F2P games are a godsend.

AVA has problems, don’t get me wrong…but you can’t go wrong on its price and the benefits outweigh the negatives.

Continued Optimism

Though I’ve gone through a “dark” period where virtually nothing in the FPS world excited me, the hiatus from gaming this summer and a renewed interest in AVA and competitive gaming has pumped me up a bit.

For this reason I’ve decided to come back to blogging. Rather than try to be a catch-all news source, I’ll focus instead on gaming topics that interest me.  That way, all this won’t seem too much like work.

As well, I don’t think I will continue the gruelling pace I set the last few years on this site; however, I’ll be back often enough to annoy most of you.

Enjoy.