Thursday, June 9, 2011

Open letter to current and aspiring game designers - Stop it!

It isn't that I am not apprecative of the effort and talents of all of you, but its becoming a pain in the ass to see new rulesets rolling out weekly.  I'm not interested in new rules, really, I'm not.  I want new settings.  I want new settings and maps and geomorphs and NPCs.  Pick a system, whether it is free or not, and develop your product.  Pick two or three and modify accordingly.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Microsoft - Problems and Solutions

I had my XBox 360 account hacked about two months ago.  I had been up late on Saturday night and early Sunday morning was checking my email and notice confirmations about purchases I supposedly made after I turned off the Xbox.  I called my credit card company and they were extremely helpful.  However, getting in touch with Microsoft was not easy and the effort to resolve the situation was more than I bargained for.  But in the end, Microsoft came through and did more than the right thing.

When I finally got hold of someone at XBox, I was told that my account was to be suspended for 5 to 10 days while they investigate the breach of my account.  Okay, no problem, I can survive without going online for a week or two.  So after about 10 days, I still hadn't heard anything, so I gave Xbox another call.  Guess what, they sent the case to a country that didn't support English!

So the investigation had to be started all over again.  So 10 days later, still no communication from XBox and another call to the customer service line.  This time I'm given the run around by the rep and excuses about how busy they, etc., etc.  So I wait another week or so and the Friday before Memorial Day I get an email from Microsoft cancelling my account.  What the Hell?!?!?

So during my lunch break I get Xbox back on the line to bitch.  Well, they had resolved it and I should be getting an email with a new code for my account shortly.  And the code for my account was for 12 months extending my current year 5 months.  So yeah, I lost two months of online time (and for me that is about the only thing I do on it) and got the two months back plus 3 more.

So the lesson here is that customer service reps suck where ever you go, but sometimes companies don't need to be hit with the cluebat to compensate customers because the reps suck.

Summertime slowdown

Not that I've been a paragon of posting frequently, but a warning to everyone that posting will probably become more erratic for the summer.  Why you ask.  You did ask that, right?  Well, summer is busy in the Foster household.  The little one is of school starting next week, our annual trip to Florida this year starts with me flying to Chicago for a board meeting then catching up with everyone else in Orlando (they'll take the auto train from Richmond), and then the fun really starts as my fiscal year ends June 30th and I need to be prepared for the auditors by the middle of August.

I'll still try to get some gaming in, but writing about it probably won't happen.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Campaign issues

I hooked up with a gaming group and have been meeting mostly weekly now for about two months.  We're playing an intrique/political game in a campaign setting designed by both the GM and players (not me, I arrived shortly after, but before the campaign started).  It is different, but I am very interested in playing it, but we've had some troubles getting going.  Part of it is that its a new campaign, and part of it is adding a new guy to a new campaign, and part of it is life interfering with a few members ability to participate, but a large part was the game system.

We were using FantasyCraft.  I don't have anything against FantasyCraft, and I love SpyCraft (not that I've ever had the chance to play), but its D&D 3.75E framework doesn't really incorporate what we were trying to do.  So we made a switch to Houses of the Blooded.  It was a little on the fly, from the gamers standpoint, but I think we all agreed to a mini-reboot of the game using the system.  However disaster struck.

Due to many factors, mostly human, we ended up killing everyone in the party in two hours without any combat.  I've been thinking about this for a few days and I still am not sure how to explain what I'm feeling.  I feel that if I point out what went wrong, people will become defensive, thinking that I am finger pointing when I'm not.

Being the new guy makes me feel like I shouldn't say anything.  But I want to have fun and I want everyone else's fun to increase as well.