The Rock, Paper Shotcast Episode 5: Drunk On Tums

Another satisfied listener

Back once again for the renegade PC games blogging masters. Adam, Alec, Jim and John gather in one virtual place to talk about Diablo III, nu-XCOM, Game of Thrones, illness, Greece, The Call of Duty Company, EA and Kickstarter, their own massive ignorance, Goebbels and the mecha-Queen of England.

Edit – 60s-style hard-panned recording now replaced with a mono/centred one for your less psychedelic enjoyment.

Here, listen to this. LISTEN.

Download your own personal copy by right-clicking and choosing ‘Save as’ here, subscribe via iTunes here (and if you could leave a nice review that would be nice, nice, very nice) or browse non-iTunesised former episodes of the Shotcast here.


  1. Stranglove says:

    A new shotcast! HUZZAH!

    EDIT: someone should probably tell John that you don’t need to launch Origin to play Burnout: Paradise. You do, however, need to log in to EA in the game.

  2. kukouri says:

    Fro the title alone, you know it is going to be good.

  3. TheApologist says:


  4. arioch says:


    Can you please centre the audio for the next one though guys… hearing some people through left only and some people through right only is downright weird! :]

    • Tridae says:

      With headphones it feels like they’re sitting on either side of me. . and completely ignoring my presence. . .uhm. . so maybe it’s not that nice.

      Mono next time please guys.

    • Chris D says:

      Thanks to my crappy speakers Jim and Adam have been edited out entirely and I only have John and Alec left.

      Have tried fiddling with the settings but so far have only managed to make everyone go away.

    • Wolfman says:

      Yes. Centred audio please!

    • Nick says:

      personally I’m downloading it, opening it in Audacity (other freeware audio software is available) and making it mono myself. Ear joy!

  5. OJSlaughter says:

    You have panned the audio too much guys. I cannot listen to this through my headphones, it is making me go crosseyed.

    I will have to set it to mono for a bit I guess :)

    Edit: Rule of Thumb, never set the panning of a channel to above %75

  6. Jody Macgregor says:

    I’m surprised at the number of people I’ve heard lately praising the single-player mode in Diablo II. I guess maybe it depends which class you play? As an Amazon and then at least one of the spellcasters — I forget which — I found it frustrating. Couldn’t beat the boss at the end of Act II and the NPC followers were no help. Multiplayer was okay in the way that any multiplayer game with friends is, but the single-player — urg.

    Meanwhile, the classes in Diablo III seem quite balanced and the followers are survivable enough to be useful without stealing the limelight from you. I’ve killed the Skeleton King with all five classes now and I like them all.

    But then I’ve also enjoyed the followers’ dialogue, at least towards the end of the game. They develop personalities pretty slowly, but I ended up liking all three.

    • RegisteredUser says:

      Well at least in Diablo 2 you could just fire up Cheat Engine and adjust your skillpoints/attributes up by 5 or 10 until you could pass whatever rough patch you just got stuck in.
      Or modify your savegame and inventory.

    • Hematite says:

      Diablo 2 was a fun and compulsive loot-em-up, but definitely not fair, well balanced or evenly paced. In particular Duriel (the Act 2 boss) was ridiculous if you were a ranged character. Whose idea was it to design a boss fight which was against a fast, hard hitting melee boss (with cold attacks!) in a small rectangular room?

      I’m pretty sure how much a person liked it depends on how much they can overlook its flaws to see the pure gem of operant conditioning within.

    • Ragnar says:

      Diablo 2 was so long ago that I’ve forgotten most of it, but I remember playing Act 1 as a Necromancer with an army of skeletons (that had trouble navigating the level), and the Act 1 boss Andariel began the fight by instantly killing off my whole skeleton army. 99% of my talent points were rendered useless, and I was only able to defeat her by running around in circles using my default ranged attack until I was low on health / mana, porting out to town to recharge back up to full, and porting back in to resume. I then dropped my Necromancer and rolled an Assassin instead. I wouldn’t call Diablo 2 well balanced.

      And that’s ignoring that the optimum builds consisted of holding all your skill points until you unlocked the one skill you would use exclusively. Maybe that’s why people remember it being difficult on Normal, because they were playing without spending any of their skill points? Then again, some people actually liked that you couldn’t respec in Diablo 2, and thus had to level up a new character for each different build that you wanted to try.

  7. T4u3rs says:

    Reposting a trailer and uploading a hard panned podcast… brilliant :(

    • Alec Meer says:

      At least I don’t think having numbers in my name is cool.

      • T4u3rs says:

        N31th3r d0 1

      • misterT0AST says:

        Don’t make fun of those of us who are less fortunate and can’t afford a fancy all-letters name, Alec.

      • frenz0rz says:

        But 0 isnt a real number. Right guys? Right…?

        • NathanH says:

          Of course it is a real number. As to whether it is a number that is real…

        • Unaco says:

          Well… 0/Zero is an integer. And all integers are real numbers. So 0 is most definitely a real number.

      • RegisteredUser says:

        Repeat after me: I am not a number, I am a free man.

        (Spot the irony!)

      • lijenstina says:

        Value A is : 65
        Value l is : 108
        Value e is : 101
        Value c is : 99
        Value M is : 77
        Value e is : 101
        Value e is : 101
        Value r is : 114

        Alec Meer’s sum is :


        Press any key to continue . . .

        Damn you c++.

  8. McDan says:

    The terrors of sunburn, was out for half an hour the other day without protection and was horribly burned for my trouble. Great stuff. At least the soothing tones of your voices give me relief. Reading that back it sounds very suspicious, oh well.

  9. Alec Meer says:

    Just uploading a mono replacement version now, give it ten mins then redownload it. (may take longer to seed to iTunes).

  10. danimalkingdom says:

    Bah, it was perhaps a little too Lonely Hearts Club Band, but I’ll be darned if that’ll stop me enjoying it.

  11. AlwaysRight says:

    Have I gone insane or did you miss the bit where you talk about DayZ?

    Edit: Not that it wasn’t a great podcast. I’m just a little bit obsessed with DayZ at the moment. Thought there would be an interesting back and forth discussing your survival stories and comparing the similarities and differenced between it and Diablo.

    • Ross Angus says:

      This. I want to live in Day Z vicariously.

    • Ross Angus says:

      Could we have a podcast just about Day Z? And could we have The King of Cardboard himself along, Mr. Florance? Wasn’t he sniffing around Jim on Twitter the other day about having a game? I might have dreamt it.

    • Skabooga says:

      I was about to post this comment myself. Glad I’m not going crazy and tune out random 5-minute sections of my life.

  12. Premium User Badge

    Hodge says:

    Is the panned one still available somewhere?

  13. Amnesiac says:

    Try harder next time. Look how you’ve upset that poor woman.

  14. HorzaEdeo says:

    Enjoyable, but far too quiet.

    • RegisteredUser says:

      Use either FFDshow and a DS compatible media player or MPC-HC and normalize the audio during playback. Fixes it on the fly.
      Alternately run it through a sound editing proggie for a second.

  15. RegisteredUser says:

    To be fair, saying something that is essentially “live” and not turn based is “tactical” is valid, and I know there’s this whole team vs team and man vs man thing in Starcraft and E-sports and whatnot..but..

    Seriously, Diablo as a tactical game? I’ve always found this to be the core of diablo: Spam all most powerful abilities until mana is dry, press button for mana potion. Check loop: IF health == low DO use health potion OR IF buff has run out DO recast buff ELSE return to spamming spells/abilities and using mana potion..

    I will readily admit I have never played through the games more than once, mostly because D2 bored me out of my skull enough as it is, but I would hardly call a tad more sophisticated kite-and-chug-and-spam reflex-fest tactical, compared to a lot of turn based stuff (or even the Total War series in some proper battle settings, what with morale, limited ammo, flanking, environmental factors, etc).

    I don’t want to do Diablo that big an injustice, but I quite honestly can’t see it much more than an inch or two over a spam-and-clickfest. And, unlike Starcraft, where there, too, is a spam and clickfest, it doesn’t ever have a scale larger than mob and/or boss on a “what you can see” +- a second screen area(whereas SC has build orders, adaptable opponents etc pp in a much more OCD-chess-like fashion, with insane layers).

    In short: When you have something like insta-fill potions, the Diablo games to me have always been more a question of “Bring enough stuff and be able to evade until cooldown expiry” rather than actually doing any deep, tactical thinking.
    (Disclaimer: I don’t play or support D3, but I know fanatics that play it and they have potions that heal 75% of their health instantly. So..yea.)

    • mispelledyouth says:

      I don’t think you’re doing Diablo any injustice. My experience with the game supports all your assertions. I’ve soloed through to Act II of nightmare and my enjoyment has pretty much plateaued.

      The chess analogy in the stream IS an interesting one though. Interesting enough to make me feel that perhaps there is more fun to be had from this game than what I’m experiencing because I’m only playing against myself.

      I agree with your pseudo game loop above. But I think that maybe I’m also realising the game presents you with many opportunities to practise and refine this loop to a depth I wasn’t prepared to consider before.

      I think I really need to get rid of that crazy hobo ‘You Have No Friends!’ social popup when I press the wrong key ingame.

    • iucounu says:

      You can’t spam mana potions in D3 because they’re gone; you have to generate mana by hitting dudes with your basic attack. You can’t spam super healing potions either, because you have a cooldown on those too, and it’s not quick.

      Your options when you are being pulverized by elites are, essentially, limited to one health potion and then one or two abilities or items that help restore health. At no point so far can you spam your way through a tough fight – you have to be clever about it.

      I’m half way through Nightmare now and I think I’m starting to get it: this is a very careful remake of D2, except with the economy of a MMORPG and, eventually, the clicky precision of a Starcraft. To that end, it’s kind of weird that it doesn’t include a) a subscription fee or b) PvP.

  16. RaveTurned says:

    The Call of Duty Company! Or CoDCo, as I shall now be calling them.

  17. mispelledyouth says:

    Whose is the ignoble snigger when Adam reports he’s been playing with his sister?

    • woodsey says:

      I think it was Alec – I’m glad one of them did anyway, I know I couldn’t help myself.

  18. Pasco says:

    All the kickstarters I have backed, and all the indie bundles I’ve bought, all have Steam as a delivery method.

    I think the announcement from Origin is EA playing catchup, rather than stealing a march on Valve.

  19. jhng says:

    Just got round to listening to the shotcast (or at least the first part). The coverage of Diablo III makes a fascinating case-study.

    All four of you are playing it and, apparently, ‘having great fun’. Yet most of your comments were about how the online ‘connectivity’ is still rubbish, the game is pitifully easy, and, in the words of one mindquarter, it takes ’20 hours of passive entertainment and boredom’ to get to the long-promised cake. In fact other than a brief mention of tactical depth there is hardly any positive discussion at all.

    The disconnect between content and mood is startling — it’s like you’ve got a collective case Stockholm’s Syndrome!

    • Ragnar says:

      I think you can enjoy a game and see its problems at the same time.

      For example, I rather enjoyed The Witcher 1 and recommend it, but the beginning is slow and confusing, the combat is boring and repetitive, there’s too much running back and forth, there’s occasionally a disconnect between what I experience and what Gerralt experiences.

      I’m playing Diablo 3 and having fun too, but occasional lag is annoying, as is the companion banter, my friend lost 1.5 hours of progress because the game failed to save at any of the many checkpoints where it should have, and though I log out in town each night, the last time I logged on I was placed in the middle of a zone, surrounded by monsters, and lagged out, such that I was dead before I ever gained control of my character. I’m glad that the game plays well on 5-6 year old hardware, but I wish there were higher resolution textures and art assets for those of us with more modern video cards. These faults don’t prevent me from enjoying the game, but they’re there all the same.

  20. wcanyon says:

    Too. Damn. Quiet.

    I listen to 4 or 5 podcasts on a regular basis. RPS is about 20% quieter than the rest, meaning I have to crank the car stereo up to the point that there’s a ton of static just to hear what you low-talking Brits are saying.

    Please fix.