League of Legends Community Scrutinizes Riot for Censorship Choices

With the new release of Xayah and Rakan in League of Legends, Riot has had to remove some quotes from the duo because of the risk of League of Legends being given the rating of Mature. Xayah and Rakan were expected to have quotes featured in the game using words such as “shit”, which would require Riot to change the rating of League of Legends to Mature.

League of Legends has kept its Teen rating since conception, and Riot works hard to keep it that way, but Xayah and Rakan’s quotes had the potential to push League’s rating into a Mature category, which would change a lot for League of Legends, but Riot removed the quotes to keep the game friendly to younger users.

I am sure many are wondering why Riot would want to keep League of Legends rated for teens, but Riot’s choices in game and champion development, to adhere to specific rating requirements, have been scrutinized by players a lot over time.

Let it be known that Xayah and Rakan are not the first champions in League of Legends to use swear words. Kled uses “shit”, but when the word is said it is covered with the typical ‘bleep’ noise.

League of Legends walks a fine line between being mature, but also charmingly childish, which is why the company needs to be able to market to both teens and adults. If Riot’s rating changed to Mature, then they wouldn’t be able to market to younger players.

In many reviews, parents online complain more about how addicting the game is for their teenage children and not about how violent it is. In fact, many state that it isn’t violent at all despite the warning in the rating for the game.

riotriotPlayers have even created a message board discussing why the game is even rated Teen since the themes described, tobacco, blood and gore, use of tobacco and violence aren’t overtly obvious.

However, some decisions made by Riot to keep League of Legends teen friendly have left players with more questions than answers.

In the early years of League of Legends tobacco was present in at least one champion, Graves. He was known for having a cigar in his mouth, but Riot has removed this iconic symbol to end any suggestion that smoking is okay and to adhere to tobacco usage laws.

While this seems fine and dandy, there are still champions with skins, which are different variations of the characters that are capable of being purchased in game, that show champions with cigars and even suggestive beer kegs.

Many players were upset when Graves lost his iconic cigar and don’t understand why it’s okay for skins to be featured with tobacco, but not the Graves actual splash art.

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silverRiotSilver explains it best in a Riot forum. The company has many regions to appeal. While the rating is extremely important, the game must adhere to the different regions that play the game, but even with this reasoning from two years ago, League of Legends players are still salty about Riot’s decisions to remove certain characteristics , which I am sure more scrutiny will surface with Riot’s new decision to remove Xayah and Rakan’s quotes.

 

 

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Scholarships Help Pave the Road from College Student to Professional Gamer

E-sports has been steadily growing and with its rise in popularity, universities are now rewarding students that play. A new college has just been added to the list of universities that give scholarships to players that excel. With colleges supporting these athletes, they will be better equipped to excel beyond college and become professional players.

Illinois College in Jacksonville, Illinois has just started offering  scholarships to students. The program is expected to start in the fall, and the university has hired Christian Matlock to coach two e-sports teams.

The most popular competitive collegiate games are League of Legends, Dota 2, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and Overwatch.

While it may all seem like fun and games (pun intended) these students are just like other college athletes. They practice roughly 20 hours a week and study professional plays to help improve their own performance.

If you are reading this, you may be wondering what other universities offer scholarships.

Most gamers know about UCI and its reputation for recently opening a gaming arena at its university, but it is also the first public university to offer a League of Legends e-sports scholarship. The program was also supported by Riot.

Robert Morris University was the first college in the United States to offer scholarships. The university is a non-profit private college. RMU has had its scholarship program for almost three years and specifically rewards League of Legends players. The university’s scholarships pays for up to 50 percent of tuition and room and board.

There are plenty of other universities that offer similar opportunities and 27 schools have committed to collegiate e-sports associations.

Teams practice roughly 10 hours a day so that they can win in national competitions. Other student athletes are typically restricted to 20 hours per week. A lot of the time these players push themselves to 40 hours per week, which is a normal week for e-sports teams.

It is argued that e-sports isn’t really a sport, but IMG Academy argues that e-sports players require stamina, concentration, finely tuned motor skills and focus. IMG has its own e-sports division to help train players by helping them with concentration, nutrition and mental focus.

Students such as Derek Micheau at RMU play for scholarships so that their tuition is covered, but never intend to go pro. Micheau told the Chicago Tribune, “I’m using my level of skill to put me through school,” he said. “Next year is my final year of school and ‘League of Legends.’ I’m going to hang it up and get a real job.”

Others have used their time as e-sport college athletes to pursue careers as professionals. With universities helping to support students it is only becoming easier for college students to pursue actual careers playing video games professionally.

What’s With Supergirl’s Face and New Pivotal Role?

In a previous post I touched on the continuous issue that NetherRealm runs across— Female faces. It seems that the reoccurring fault has shown it’s ugly head once again.

In a more recent release of a new trailer, viewers can see what appears to be another facial reconstruction for Superman’s cousin.

So far, Supergirl has undergone at least two facial reconstructions since the announcement of her character being available for play in Injustice 2.

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With the design of Supergirl’s face, we can see less shadow, slender cheek bones and more light reflecting on her cheeks, but with the new release of Shattered Alliances, It seems that her face has become the original concept design once more.

There could be a logical explanation for this. The company could have already created this trailer prior to her most recent rework, or NetherRealm’s designers could have changed their mind after the new look and decided to change it once more.

Some comments attached to the new trailer are focusing on the poor quality of facial construction.

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Aside from looks, fans are raising discussion over whether Supergirl will become like Cassie Cage from Mortal Kombat.

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Cassie ended up being a key, pivotal, character in Mortal Kombat, which now NetherRealms has shown that Supergirl could also be a key character in the story associated with Injustice 2 and fans are drawing connections between the two.

If Supergirl happens to be the leading lady to this story line, hopefully they settle on an official face design.

It’s hard to tell if fans are excited, neutral, or upset about this comparison to Cassie Cage, but they are aware that Supergirl will be a central character to the plot.

The release of Injustice 2 will be coming this May and more trailer releases are expected, so keep your eyes peeled for more curve balls from NetherRealms.

Why Ads on YouTube are More Important Now than Ever Before

In most recent news, several U.S. companies have chosen to pull their advertisements from YouTube due to their ads being placed near content promoting terrorism and extremism. Some of these businesses are Johnson and Johnson, Verizon, and AT&T. A YouTube account with extreme views that ran these companys’ ads was that of American white nationalist David Duke.

YouTube has been in the media a lot recently with the release of controversial material such as the Anti-Semitic references from PewDie Pie and JonTron’s  Alt-Right comments. So, how will these ad drops affect you and maybe even your favorite streamers and why are advertisements important for YouTube?

As gamers, it’s not unusual to get on YouTube to check in on streamers,  commentators, game reviews and game theories. Often these channels are supported by advertisements, but now that some of these ads have been pulled what does this mean?

Well, YouTube streamers that rely on their channel for income rely on advertisements, but it takes a lot of views to make a small amount of money. According to Investopedia, in 2013, YouTube channels could make $7.60 per one-thousand views. This means that the owner of the channel would have to set their channel to allow advertisements to be displayed before their videos, and for each one-thousand views (those watching would need to see the ads) the YouTube owner could generate income.

I am sure that you are wondering what they make per one-thousand views now, but it is hard to pin point this number unless you know how much their income is. Quora explains how to calculate ad revenue for a channel.

Now, back to the most recent news regarding companies pulling out from ad participation. These companies are ending their ties with YouTube because they don’t want their businesses associated with these extreme views, but most users like JonTron and PewDiePie rely on ads for money.

Will this effect YouTube?

Many are unaware that YouTube doesn’t make or lose a profit, but with businesses deciding to pull ads, the company could see a loss in profit for the first time, which could mean trouble for YouTube. Google, who owns YouTube, is one of the largest advertisement sellers and the company generated more than $22 billion in ad revenue during the fourth quarter of 2016.

Will channel owners suffer?

A lot of internet users use ad-block to avoid long ads and save phone data, and when ad-block is used, YouTube channel owners do not generate ad-revenue. So, prior to businesses pulling out, ad block was used by 26% of desktops users alone, which means that YouTube channels were already losing a minimum of 26% of revenue. Now that these businesses have chosen to abstain from supplying ads, YouTube will lose revenue from those businesses. With the loss of that revenue, YouTube channel owners could see a decrease in how much they make per view. If they were still receiving, $7.60 per one-thousand views, that amount would most likely decrease.

How will users suffer?

Once channel owners start to  lose revenue, they will lose funding for creating content. Some might even lose motivation to create content if they lose the ability to generate adequate amounts of revenue to live off of. Once content ceases to be created, users will have no reason to be on YouTube.

Summing it up

With  YouTube and channel owners relying so heavily on advertisements, this sudden pull out from big companies, not only in the U.S. but also in Europe, is going to have a major impact, but mostly the impact will probably be felt by YouTube first since the company’s revenue would fall and then channel owners ad revenue per one-thousand views would decrease, and once both parties are effected, YouTube users will suffer by loss of content from channel owners.

Who would have thought an ad could mean so much?

Are Open-World Games the New Norm?

The most recent game that has been receiving huge praise for its exceptionally well done, open-world concept is “Zelda: Breath of the Wild”. The concept of having an open-world game is nothing new, but it seems to be growing in popularity, but do people even really understand it?

Mass Effect Andromeda has taken stage over the last few weeks, and many are talking about its “open-world concept” but, would it surprise you if it wasn’t an open-world game at all? Mass Effect’s producer, Michael Gamble, says that it isn’t open world or linear. He is calling it an exploration-based game. With all of the confusion, it might be helpful to look into what defines an open world game.

An open-world concept allows more freedom when playing through the game and gives players a feeling of control. Most open world games have large, expansive maps with a wide variety of areas, structures, missions, tasks, etc., which gives the player more choices and leeway for the path of events they’d like to choose.  Basically, look for an “open world” not a confined space. It’s funny how the term “open world” is representative of the actual concept, isn’t it?

Not all games can benefit from an open-world concept and many of them would be better off without ever pursing it. Open worlds are meant for games that want players to enjoy a feeling of never ending adventure and freedom, to begin quests when they feel like and to do so in what order that they prefer. Typically, open world games are guided to an end once all quests are completed.

Some gamers can’t get past the lack of an actual goal or set story line to guide them to the end of the game and now that open-world games have been catching on with developers, some gamers are growing tired of seeing companies force linear games/exploration games/dungeon games into open worlds, and expansive maps can be daunting for some. It’s a long distance to travel just to complete quests.

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The sudden spike in open-world games has also left some believing that the concept is just a cash cow for developers. Virtuaaddict spoke out on Reddit when the question, “Why Almost Every Game Is Open World These days?” was posed.

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Even though there are some who have negative feelings about open-world games, a poll was taken on Giantbomb.com in regards to whether people were actually getting fed up with these games and their more recent popularity. The results of the poll shows that 76 percent were not tired of open-world games.

Much like anything, there are pros/cons and while there are people who have opinions, both negative and positive, open-world games aren’t going anywhere. Developers generally make a lot of money from them and 76% did poll saying that they were not tired of seeing the open concept, but learning to distinguish between open-world, linear, etc. is important because if you categorize all games, such as Mass Effect Andromeda, into an open-world category, of course you will get sick of seeing open-world games, because they will all be labeled as open world.

Just because everyone says its open world, doesn’t necessarily mean it is.

 

 

 

 

 

Breath of the Wild Reviews: How Metascores are more than just a number

Recently ‘Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild’ (BOTW) was released for Wii U and the Nintendo Switch. Reviews rave over the game saying that Nintendo has created another adventure game that will be hard to beat.

A feature that is loved by many is the open concept that is immediately experienced upon playing. IGN.com even goes as far to say that the landscape of Hyrule itself is the actual main character for this game.

BOTW was tied for second place for a Metacritic score of 98, but after Jim Sterling, a video game narrator, gave the game a 7 out of 10, the game was knocked down to a score of 97 which is tied with eight other games instead of the three that BOTW could have been tied with.

After this review, Sterling’s site suffered from DDOSing since fans of the game were pissed off.

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But not all fans of the game felt that DDosing was a good way to handle their anger or that a 7 out of 10 was necessarily a bad score.

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Owen S. Good (Polygon) wrote about this drop in Metacritic rating, but what seems even more important than the argument over whether the game was a 7 out of 10 or not is that there are game developers who actually get paid bonuses based on these scores that are released, so for them, it is a very serious thing.

In 2013, Kotaku.com published an article discussing these scores and the bonuses attached. Bethesda promised money to Obsidian if ‘Fallout:New Vegas’ received a score above 85. A team of 70 was expected to receive $14,000 each, but the game received a metascore of 75.

Kotaku Interview with Kim Swift:

“Typically, when you go into pitch meetings and whatnot, publishers are going to want to know your track record as far as Metacritic,” said Kim Swift, a game designer best known for helping create games like Portaland Quantum Conundrum. “As a company, what is your Metacritic average? As an individual, what is your Metacritic average?”

These scores are more than just a rating. They impact developers and whether people want to buy the games. This is something that many have strong opinions on.

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Some are simply defensive for Jim Sterling and others have voiced their opinions on the rating system itself, but in a way gamers rely on the rating system to decide on whether they want to purchase a game. Is there a better solution that won’t impact developers’ jobs and pay? What are your opinions?

Consumers Respond to Oculus Rift’s $200 Price Cut

In the last blog post, I mentioned the price drop of Oculus Rift and that responses had yet to be seen from consumers. Now that it has been about a week since that post, let’s check in on what’s being said.

Generally people don’t seem to be overly upset about the price reduction, but there is at least one buyer with harsh feelings.

Darkrune commented to an Oculus forum expressing his/her anger about the price drop since he/she had bought it at full price.

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Others quickly chimed in to point out that all products eventually drop in price, and it was to be expected. Others, who paid full price, expressed that they did not experience the same anger as Darkrune.

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Reddit discussions address the problem for those who bought the VR system more recently. It would really suck to have bought the Oculus Rift days before the price drop, but Facebook has offered a $50 store credit to those who purchased the Oculus Rift within the last 30 days.

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There are both positives and negatives to Facebook’s decision. While some who purchased it for full price feel like they got slapped in the face, others who were waiting for a lower price so they could afford it have finally gotten what they wanted.

In general, fans of VR seem to be happy and hopeful of seeing more people using the technology, thanks to the cut in price, despite any harsh feelings they may bear.