%HTMLlat1; %HTMLsymbol; %HTMLspecial; ]> GTA IV wrap up
Roland van Ipen­burg
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GTA IV wrap up

Mon­day 30 March 2009 03:20

Be­ing lev­el 8 in mul­ti­play­er GTA IV is enough for me. Earn­ing $1M seems a lot when you just start out, but once you get bet­ter than the av­er­age play­er it be­comes more fun and more ef­fi­cient to get there. But tak­ing it to $2.5M or $5M is in­sane. I've been most­ly do­ing Mafiya Work, but if you re­al­ly want to get the Want­ed tro­phy I think you'd bet­ter cal­cu­late what makes the most per hour and stick to that. And that is prob­a­bly Deal Break­er, but that gets bor­ing af­ter a while. Rac­ing is nice to get some skills to use in Mafiya Work, but I don't think any­one would want to spend so much time rac­ing in a non-ded­i­cat­ed race game to get even close to $1M. But for ca­su­al play­ing rac­ing and death­match are pop­u­lar enough to al­ways have some play­ers avail­able.

Since the only oth­er mul­ti­play­er on­line stuff I've played is Counter-Strike the GTA IV on­line stuff just sucks. You can se­lect the type of game, but then you can't fil­ter on oth­er op­tions, so if you want Mafiya Work, but not on Bo­han, you can't se­lect that un­less you're lucky enough to be host­ing the game. And you can't choose with how many play­ers you'd want to be. A lot of times some los­er host­ing a game doesn't start it and wastes every­body's time in the lob­by, prob­a­bly while there is no man­u­al or hint for av­er­age play­ers to kick such a los­er to get rid of a zom­bie lob­by. And the serv­er could mon­i­tor that shit and find out by it­self there is not much point wait­ing more than 1 minute for a 10 minute round. Another is­sue I have is that the PSN con­nec­tion is so un­re­li­able that go­ing for a game last­ing over 30 min­utes or $10k has the huge dis­ad­van­tage you might be dis­con­nect­ed with a sig­nif­i­cant amount of earn­ings be­fore the game is over, and those earn­ings are then lost. And there are very an­noy­ing bugs in the game, which make Bomb the Base un­playable and in Mafiya Work spawn tasks in un­reach­able places, so on an earn­ings lim­it round the play­ers are screwed when that hap­pens. I've had to have my­self killed 13 times to let the oth­er guy reach $10k to walk away with my own $4k when that once hap­pened. That should not hap­pen on a top-sell­ing con­sole game that has been out for 11 months.

The rank­ing sys­tem makes play­ers cal­cu­late and find un­bal­anced parts of the game. One big mis­take is that it's pos­si­ble to do noth­ing in Deal Break­er and still get about $4k if the oth­er play­ers fin­ish the mis­sion, so there's a guy who spend about 25000 rounds do­ing noth­ing mak­ing over $100M. That kind of pow­er lev­el­ing should not be pos­si­ble. The tasks in Mafiya Work could also be more bal­anced. After a while you know what tasks you shouldn't waste your in­ven­to­ry on, and you can let some n00b have him­self get killed a cou­ple of times for a cou­ple of hun­dred dol­lars in some far away task while you are then in a per­fect po­si­tion to com­plete the next near­by, easy and high pay­ing task.

The best ap­proach to Mafiya Work is to first get kit­ted out with a pow­er­ful weapon, body ar­mor and fast ve­hi­cle, and then fo­cus on the tasks. Once you get into death­match style killing of every­one you en­counter, some­body else will be com­plet­ing the tasks and make sig­nif­i­cant­ly more mon­ey. The spawn­ing points don't help much, so with all play­ers marked on the map that of­ten leads to n00bs do­ing a death­match while a more ex­pe­ri­enced play­er can fin­ish all tasks with­out be­ing both­ered by them. That's why I pre­fer to only mark the leader and keep the game fo­cussed on Mafiya Work. Which play­er com­pletes a task is de­ter­mined a lot by where the tasks ran­dom­ly spawn. Some­times you've just killed a play­er just to see him spawn clos­er to a task, so there would be some respawn time that would make a death al­ways dis­ad­van­ta­geous, but I don't know what it is and wait­ing 30 sec­onds per death in a 10 minute game seems a waste of time. I'd rather see the cre­ators of a game put more ef­fort in set­ting up a bal­anced mul­ti­play­er game, and not just give play­ers op­tions that could make it a strate­gic or tac­ti­cal dif­fer­ent game, or make it to­tal­ly dif­fer­ent de­pend­ing on whether there are two or six­teen play­ers. Now it seems there is this on­line mode and while every play­er gets some dol­lars to help his lev­el go up to keep him hap­py there aren't many oc­ca­sions where the game­play alone would keep him hap­py.

Too bad the tasks in Mafiya Work don't re­quire the full range of so­lu­tions avail­able in the game. There are no tasks on Hap­pi­ness Is­land, none re­quire a boat, he­li­copter, mo­tor­cy­cle or walk­ing. It's fun to com­plete some tasks with the help of a he­li­copter, but it's not the pre­ferred so­lu­tion. It would also be nice to have a mixed sin­gle/team mode where for some tasks you'd have to tem­porar­i­ly form a team to com­plete a task. I mean GTA IV is a bril­liant plat­form, but the mul­ti­play­er part isn't what it could be and it feels like no­body in­volved with the game cares about what is hap­pen­ing there.

Fu­ture DLC? Why would I buy down­load­able con­tent for a game that doesn't get it's bugs fixed? And since there is this whole GTA uni­verse for Nin­ten­do DS, PSP, XboX and PC that I'm miss­ing any­way be­cause I'm not buy­ing the hard­ware for it, I have no prob­lem skip­ping some DLC for PS3. While some hard­core gamers may have all plat­forms and can ex­pe­ri­ence every as­pect of the GTA line of games, as just a PS3 own­er I feel just left with half of a bug­gy game while the de­vel­op­er seems to be busy with oth­er plat­forms. And they think I pay EUR 70 for the next half? DLC might work if they give the game away for free and then sell DLC con­tent for those who are in­ter­est­ed, but first sell­ing a game for EUR 70 and then sell­ing EUR 2 DLC items for it that could have just been part of the game seems not like a good deal, es­pe­cial­ly if you don't know how much DLC there will be when you buy the EUR 70 game. They could come up with an­oth­er EUR 70 worth of DLC af­ter that, and maybe you aren't in­ter­est­ed in pay­ing EUR 140 for a com­plete game. They don't sell the orig­i­nal GTA IV with only 30% of the con­tent for around EUR 20, so what's the busi­ness log­ic be­hind these things?


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