The Sunday Papers
Sundays are for heading to a nearby open air market, for music and food stalls and hopefully sunshine. Or if it's raining, they're for staying in and reading a selection of the week's best writing about games.
Why does everyone hate Mercy? Apple Cider writes about the Overwatch support character, speaking to some of Overwatch's best players about why the character and support/healing classes in general are often derided and considered unskilled,.
Every Mercy main that I spoke to about this lack of skill laughed about it, since anyone who has actually played the role for a significant amount of time knows how demanding it is. Playing support requires a high amount of game sense (knowing where enemies are), a continual tally of team and enemy ult usage, risk assessment in split seconds, as well as crisis prioritization. She is the antithesis of everything we think about first-person shooters mechanically and, therefore, earns a lion’s share of derision because of it.
Patrick Dane at Eurogamer tells the story of how Ark survived early access, which is in large part a story of repeated cock-ups even amid enormous commercial success. We'll have our review up next week, by the way.
"They would try every single day to get a judge somewhere, who was not really familiar on the details of the case yet, to just sign off. Their argument was Ark's existence was harming Dungeon Defenders. Like... how would you even justify that? Why would Ark being online cause Dungeon Defenders to lose players? The games aren't even remotely similar! But to a judge who doesn't know anything about video games, they might sign off, and when they couldn't get one judge to do it, they would go to a different judge, in a different forum to try and get a similar judgement."
Edwin Evans-Thirlwell also at Eurogamer wrote about Call of Duty: WWII's beta, doing preview duty while placing the game in the context of previous Call of Duty games set in the past, present and future.
So we're fighting the Nazis again. And in the game. Call of Duty's return to the heroism-soaked beaches and foxholes of World War 2 is either providentially or unfortunately timed. Wolfenstein and Sniper Elite's fine efforts notwithstanding, I'd sort of forgotten that National Socialism was once the industry's second favourite foe (its favourite being zombies, which are both dependably noxious and, as mindless cannibals, easier to design around), and it's odd to be kicking the crap out of them, or indeed kicking crap as them, in the context of a genuine far-right resurgence.
Kirk McKeand at PCGamesN wrote a short story about how one of Dishonored: Death of the Outsider's writers, Hazel Monforton, came to Arkane's attention due to a really great set of tweets about the Outsider.
In the thread, Monforton likens the Outsider to pharmakos, an ancient Greek ritual where a slave, disabled person, or a criminal takes on the role of a human scapegoat and is expelled from a community during times of turmoil. The sins of the Greeks are cast onto these victims and they become literal outsiders. As we learn in Dishonored 2, the Outsider was once a human who was sacrificed for similar reasons by an unknown cult. Now, from the void between worlds, he bestows powers on the less fortunate.
Patrick Klepek at Waypoint asks: have you tried to play a game on a PC that clearly couldn't handle it? The question is inspired by Rare and their game Sea of Thieves, which they're aiming to have playable (at extremely low framerates and resolutions) on really crappy PCs. As a one-time owner of many crappy PCs, I think there's huge value in this.
No one is going to argue 540p and 15 frames-per-second is the ideal way to play any game, let alone Sea of Thieves. But it's also true that many people are stuck playing on machines they would have upgraded long ago, if they had the money. Maybe there are technical (or artistic) reasons other games wouldn't go to the same lengths as Rare, but Rare's decision reflects the reality of how people often play games in non-ideal conditions. It would behoove more developers to consider this.
Kotaku's Fave This is fast becoming my favourite videogame podcast. Listen to the latest episode, in which hosts Patricia Hernandez and Gita Jackson discuss how harsh the internet can be to the naive, the creatively inexperienced, and particularly children.
Music this week is still Girl At The Height Of Rudeness, a Japanese band. I need to venture beyond YouTube's recommended videos to find new music soon, but not yet.