As the week comes to a close and the temperatures rise, flip on the AC and check out Worth Reading, our guide to the best games writing around.

Hey, You Should Read These

For the many hours I’ve spent with Souls, I’ve never dug into PvP. But I recognize it’s one of the main draws for the community, and the reason each game keeps people interested long after they’ve beaten every boss for the umpteeth time. Brendan Caldwell’s profile of Dark Souls fight clubs is fascinating because it’s another example of players doing things the game doesn’t officially support. There’s no way to set up fighting tournaments in Dark Souls, and despite the proliferation of these flight clubs over the years, From Software is content with letting players jump through hoops on their own. Heck, if they made it a proper feature, it might not be as special.

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Here’s an excerpt from the piece:

When it came time for Dongle to duel at his first club, for instance, he leapt into the ring to challenge the reigning champion. But during the fight, instinct took over and he used his Estus flask – restoring some of his health mid-fight. He had just broken one of the club’s few rules.

“I knew I made a horrible mistake when the host jumped down into the ring and started swinging his torch at me. I was somewhat confused but I could tell he wasn’t trying to kill me. Then he proceeded to chug all of his Estus in front of me so that the ‘out of Estus’ animation played.”

Dongle got the hint. He swigged his entire bottle of Estus and watched as the host approvingly climbed back up the steps to the “stands” and rang a chime to signal the fight was back on.

Continuing the meme that reading stories about EVE Online is more interesting than playing EVE Online, Seven Messner has this captivating tale of building, moving, and defending the largest structure in EVE Online yet. I’m not sure what I can say about this story except that you should just read it. The amount of coordination, collaboration, and tactical planning needed to survive and thrive in EVE Online continues to astound me.

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Here’s an excerpt from the piece:

On May 17th, every pilot was hands on deck for the most important operation in Hard Knocks’ history. Because the alliance had been somewhat public about their intention of building the Keepstar, they had no guarantees that spies hadn’t been carefully watching them for weeks now. Operational security was at its tightest. “We didn’t tell our members what they were doing, where they were going, or how they were getting there,” Jerzii says. “We had to keep everything close to the chest. Only the directors could see the maps we were using.”

The plan was broken down into multiple initiatives that required every pilot to be on their best game. In the system of Paara, where the Keepstar was built, four pilots were chosen to fly freighters. Three would act as decoys to lure off any ambushes while one carried the Keepstar. Between the four freighters, an escort of almost 100 Tornado battlecruisers would accompany each vessel. “If anything comes at [the freighter], it’s pretty much over,” Jerzii says. “So we decided we didn’t want anything to come at it. If we saw anything get near it or anything that even just looks like it might be an issue, we’d just destroy it.”

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Oh, And This Other Stuff

  • David Wolinsky interviewed PaRappa The Rapper artist Rodney Greenblat. Side note: PaRappa The Rapper 3 rumors always bug me. Remember how bad the sequel was?
  • Wesley Yin-Poole chronicled Half-Life: Episode 3’s long journey to never being released.
  • Veve Jaffa outlined out diversity in games is often kept out of the main game, and made DLC you have to pay for. That’s, uh, a problem.
  • Greg Kasavin broke down the new Doom to figure out how it got rebooting right, when so many games lose the spirit of the original.
  • Phil Kollar spoke with DICE about the long journey to get Mirror’s Edge Catalyst made. (Please don’t suck. Please don’t suck. Please don’t suck.)
  • Gino Grieco explained what Final Fantasy taught him about death.