As mentioned two weeks ago, technical difficulties have resulted in the temporary cancellation of The Ransistance and expanding Ranneko Plays Massive Chalice into its slot. This has had me thinking about how to handle my schedule from this point on.
The current schedule is a result of slow expansion in the number of videos I have been doing. I have slowly moved from Mon/Wed/Fri, to every weekday, and now every single day of the week. Each time I have added a day, it has been to add yet another game and to see how long I can keep it up.
Ultimately, I want to be able to handle long games in a reasonable timeframe, while not sacrificing the opportunity to do shorter series for shorter games at the same time. Ideally, I also want to leave one day a week free for more polished, short tip videos.
I want to return to tip videos for two reasons. Firstly, I like to highlight things that otherwise can be easily missed, especially if they can have a high impact on someone’s play. Secondly, my tip videos are by far the most consistently successful ones on my channel. I have I have been starting to gather ideas for those tips, but could always do with more. If you have any small tips for particular games that would fit in a 1-5 minute video I would love to hear them.
Here is the schedule I am currently angling toward:
Mon/Wed/Fri: Long Game Slot
Thurs/Sun: Shorter Game or Oneshot
Sat: Syfro Saturdays
What do people think? The final schedule probably won’t be implemented until Torment: Tides of Ranmenera wraps up, but any feedback would be appreciated.
The Ransistance wraps up prematurely this week. I was having a great time, but unfortunately, some interaction between mods and my install has resulted in significant instability. I have recorded a couple more episodes but then I encountered a landed UFO mission that always crashes XCOM 2 when I finish up the mission. I spent way too much time trying to either fix the initial interaction or at least avoid the crash trigger, and I found a way to partially avoid the initial crash, but even loading an old save and playing normally will have the game crash after 15 minutes or so. I could restart the campaign, but with War of the Chosen only a couple of months away, I figure I should way for that to release and start a campaign then. If you have signed up to be a soldier don’t worry I will export all of the characters so they will show up in the next run!
As a result, from next week Ranneko Plays Massive Chalice will run three times a week, every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Hopefully, that will take us roughly to the release of War of the Chosen and then that will run 3 days a week.
This post was a little delayed. It turns out getting everything coordinated again after a break is trickier than I would like. I managed to bleed my buffer almost completely dry. My buffer lasted through to Saturday the 17th, and on that day I finally edited and uploaded the video for Sunday. I have managed to sort out a number of recording sessions though and, with some effort, I have recorded and edited episodes that will last through to the 28th.
It is still shorter than I would like of course. I will work on expanding it in the comings weeks.
I am back! Spain was lovely, though while I was away I of course did done precisely zero recording.
I did try to keep an eye on the blog and channel while I was away, though with only a phone it was harder than I had hoped. It looks like The Ransistance has started off fairly strong for my series, gathering a couple of dozen views for the first couple of episodes.
In general, the first couple of episodes of most do a lot better than the rest, it makes sense to start at the beginning and give 1-2 episodes a try I guess. Unfortunately, I have seen no new volunteers to join the ranks. If you haven’t done so already, remember you can sign up here.
I am still on holiday! I am trying to sort out these posts before I head off because ideally, I would like to just leave my laptop at home. I have am terrible when it comes to traveling light, normally I have a minimum of half a dozen different devices in my carry-on just to cover any entertainment possibilities. If I can leave my laptop at home… I will still have half a dozen devices on me but the bulkiest one won’t get in the way.
For the record, the devices I have taken with me are:
This week brings new series! In the Monday/Friday slot I will be fighting the alien overlords in The Ransistance (you can sign up to become a soldier here). On Wednesdays, I revisit my favourite game from 2015 and play through Massive Chalice for the first time since I wrapped up my Massive Tips series.
In terms of viewership the channel has not changed much. I am still seeing very low engagement with my longer running series, Pillars of Ranternity and even Torment: Tides of Ranmenera is barely getting any interest. Worse still I am losing motivation to play Pillars of Eternity and so, in the absence of any written or vocal feedback I have decided to take a break from Pillars. In my recordings I have reached the end of the White March Part 1 and that seems like a suitable stopping point. I will return to it eventually but I think some separation will do me some good.
At this point I think I will start an XCOM2 Let’s Play to replace it. That game stole a week or so from me just after it released and I would like to go back to it now all the DLC is out and the mods are more mature. Let me know if you are interested in being recruited and if you have any mods you would recommend I play.
The backlog itself still in a state of flux, on YouTube I am only solid through to the 18th, but I have raw footage that will see me through to the 26th when Pillars wraps up. In general, 2 weeks feels like a pretty good buffer, but I have a trip coming up at the end of the month. If I don’t get some extra recording done it will be hard to keep up the same consistency of output in June.
My buffer is shrinking disconcertingly quickly. I now am covered for daily episodes through to the 15th of May with only a small amount of unedited videos to help extend things. I need to find the motivation to sit and record more. What doesn’t help is the complete lack of feedback on the new schedule. My attempts to get it so far have proven unsuccessful and the only other metrics I have to go on aren’t exactly ideal. Since the release of Torment: Tides of Numenera my view count has dwindled dramatically and many of my new videos are being almost completely ignored. I would love to know why. Are the games just no longer fresh? Am I putting out too many videos? Should I take a break or change the format. I really need some human feedback here, not just numbers without much context.
It’s been a while since I posted, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been busy. In fact, right now I have new videos on my channel every single day. Unfortunately, it has proven… difficult to post regularly on the site because my update system wasn’t really intended to cope with this kind of volume. Plus some of my regular series have gone on long enough that it is difficult to avoid repeating myself. The plan from this point is to weekly summary posts so regular readers can keep up with at least the broad strokes.
I have some rare, actually prescheduled streams coming up! You should check them out over at twitch.tv/ranneko.
I am an excellent builder of bridges
On Thursday afternoon, starting at 16:00CET I am going to stream the indie puzzle game I am currently slightly obsessed with Poly Bridge. You may recognise it from the incessent posting of bridge gifs over on my twitter feed. I am pretty keen to try out its twitch integration which allows viewers to give suggestions to help me build new and terrible constructions that sometimes get the job down without collapsing catastrophically.
Then pretty much all day Friday I will be streaming Sunless Sea: Zubmariner, basically recording in bulk the next several episodes of Ranless Sea. I am itching to really dive into those stories again and Failbetter Games just made the previously kickstarter exclusive content available to everyone. Plus at the moment they are trying to promote the Sunless Skies kickstarter and they say they will be trying to drop into as many Sunless Sea streams as they can so hopefully they will be around for some of it to answer questions. I will kick off at about 10am CET and try to go for pretty much the whole day, with the occasional break for food, drink and other vital bodily functions.
Even after those streams are done you should remember to follow my channel, I sometimes stream the recording sessions for my let’s plays but unfortunately I don’t have a consistent recording time which makes it hard to have a consistent stream time. If you follow me you will get notifications when I go live!
Pillars of Eternity has a serious problem with backer content. You can see this in pretty much every discussion about it online. The backer NPCs and memorials basically exist as filler that doesn’t fit with the story or often the world. Obsidian clearly knew this was an issue, but were obligated to put in all this content because backers paid for it and were promised it. They never seem to answer questions about this but I feel pretty confident that if they kickstart another game either the will completely cut these kinds of perks, severely limit them, or move them to much more expensive tiers. The sheer number of backer memorials and NPCs they agreed to put in is pretty staggering, based on their kickstarter page I think they had more than 3500 backers entitled to memorials and more than 100 NPCs to include.
It was a serious challenge that Obsidian Entertainment completely failed to live up to and the way it was handled let down both their players and their backers. The player perspective is the one I see most often discussed, for example the NPCs are generally regarded as a delivery vehicle for overwritten vignettes and are otherwise completely useless. The only possible interaction with a backer NPC is to walk up to one and view a soul memory, you can never converse with a backer NPC, you will never be asked to get some information from them or discuss their story, they never have a task for you and you can’t ever discuss the information from one of these memories with anyone else. The conversations with Grieving Mother make it clear that viewing her mind is unusual despite these hundred NPCs whose memories you can’t help but examine. So the NPCs serve no story, lore or mechanical purpose. The only concession is that these NPCs have a different name border so once you learn they are useless they are easy to avoid.
The memorials are even worse, there is an order of magnitude more of them and they are significantly less curated. In fact as far as I can tell Obsidian did the bare minimum with these, I am pretty sure they filtered out memorials with swearing or slurs but they appear to have made no checks on grammar, language or fit with the world. They then implemented them in a way that provided them with no control over the placement of individual monuments, as demonstrated by the incident where they replaced a problematic memorial meaning that even memorials that were intended to fit with the world can end up in completely unsuitable locations.
This trains players to ignore backer content, it teaches you quickly and effectively that this basic backer content is separate from and significantly lesser to the rest of the game and is effectively marked to allow a player to easily ignore all of it. Which is why it fails backers, not all backers to be fair, but certainly the subset of backers who actually cared about their contribution, those to whom the memorial or NPC was important in some way. I am one of those backers.
7 years ago my youngest brother passed away, it was sudden, it was tragic and one of the reasons I backed a number of crowdfunded games at a high level was because they had memorial options in them. It is my way to keep him alive, my vague hope was that maybe one of his friends would serendipitously encounter it playing one of these games, that it would remind them however briefly of their school friend and help them remember him. This won’t happen if the game teaches you not to look at backer content.
I know I am not unique in wanting my memorial seen in the sampling of memorials that I have read I have seen people memorialising past adventures, friends, families, even at least one business slipping in an advertisement. It could have been done, they could have curated the memorials, had someone spellcheck them and correspond with backers whose memorials could use improvement. They could have then matched memorials to vaguely appropriate areas rather than the current purely algorithmic approach. They could have had a task or quest that involved information gleaned from a memorial or two in a given area or vital information from a backer NPC. Heck they could have just randomised the order each run so statistically everyone’s memorial will turn up in the first few people are likely to read.
Remember each memorial represents a minimum of a $500 contribution to the game, each NPC $1,000. How much does it cost per backer to have someone check memorials for spelling and grammar and sort them into lore friendly and unfriendly categories?
Given this treatment there is no way I would ever back an Obsidian game at a similar tier again.