Current time: 05-23-2024, 02:20 AM
An Unkindness of Ravens
#1
NiX Wrote:A Nest for Ravens

<center><img src="http://ravenrepublic.net/gallery/albums/userpics/10023/ravensnest.jpg"/></center>

Armored Core has always been something of a niche catering to the already-niche genre of mecha simulation. The Armored Core trilogy for the PS1 provided mech fans everywhere with the rare chance to build and battle with their very own customized mechs. As players got to know the game better, their skills improved along with their ability to design ACs. It got to the point where bashing the AI rankers wasn't enough any more and nothing other than an equally skilled human opponent would suffice for competition. But as most AC players realized, finding people to play against, let alone skilled ones, was truly a challenge with AC being the niche that it is.

In their search for others to play against, many Armored Core players turned to the internet, which allowed them to communicate with players that they otherwise wouldn't have been able to meet. In the early days, some AC communities actually started as mailing lists before moving on to more sophisticated message-board systems. Pilot directories, where players posted their contact details and simply hoped for a call, were also common. The information that was shared back then was mostly textual since internet connections were still too slow or nonexistent. The point is that even with this convenient means of exchanging information already in place, people still had to actually meet up somewhere in real life to get to play.


<center><img src="http://ravenrepublic.net/gallery/albums/userpics/10023/acplay.jpg"/>
Playing face to face</center>

As far as the English-speaking Armored Core community went, enthusiasm was probably the highest in the time between Another Age and Silent Line. Several community forums had already sprouted, and various tournaments were held regularly. Technological improvements also allowed for easier recording, uploading, and downloading of match videos, though they were still difficult to come by. But still, the community seemed healthy as a whole.

Armored Core: Nexus eventually came and brought along some radical changes to the game and to the community. It was a low time because it frustrated a lot of the long-time players while actually making it harder for newer players. Ninebreaker didn't help much, and Last Raven didn't look any different to those that already felt burned. As those that stuck around found out though, Last Raven did rekindle the Armored Core spirit from the days of Another Age and Silent Line. But was the damage done already too great?


Armored Core: The Next Generation

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The release of newer consoles saw with it the arrival of the most radical Armored Core iteration yet: Armored Core 4. The game introduced many changes that made it more accessible to a wider audience -- a gameplay overhaul, multi-console release, and online play (finally!). But upon further reflection, these may have actually been dual-edged swords for the community.

The changes made to the gameplay allowed a newer generation of players to get into the action; but it also alienated much of the older fanbase. Many of the older fans actually felt that aside from the designing aspect, the whole thing played like a totally different game.

Releasing Armored Core on both the PS3 and the Xbox 360 was another thing that seemed like a good idea at first. Of course it was a good idea from a commercial standpoint because either side could still buy and play the game. But from a community perspective, it was terrible. Frame rates and overall lag actually differed between the two versions, and neither could play with the other online. An already-divided community was segmented even further.

It's somewhat ironic that the (legit) online play that AC players always wanted probably dealt the biggest blow to the community yet. Any AC player with a decent internet connection could finally go online to go up against anyone that was also on and willing to play. Unfortunately, though online play probably worked well in the low-ping environment of Japan, the same just couldn't be said for the rest of the world. The game simply lagged too much to facilitate any legitimately competitive environment. For something that should have reinvigorated and united the community, why is it that most AC message boards started dying out around this time?


The Raven's Fate

<center>[Image: raven.jpg]</center>

With online play in the most recent Armored Core games, people no longer had to meet up just to get a round of AC. But it was actually in meeting up like they did that the older generation of AC players were able to develop real-life friendships -- friendships that simply wouldn't have developed in an online game lobby. Even with dwindling membership and a diminished interest in Armored Core, the fact that many members actually know each other is a major reason why many AC message boards still exist today.

Online play has relegated the opponent into a faceless enemy that simply has to be defeated, rather than as a partner to learn the game with. Now, with Armored Core seeing more player-versus-player activity than ever before, why is it that the community has never been so silent? Indeed, the impersonal nature of cyberspace may just be what is eating away at the very core.

Now, all that is left to hope for is an English release of the Armored Core Portable series for the PSP. With new parts, a new control scheme, and ad-hoc play, it remains to be seen how these games will lay the groundwork for the future of Armored Core and its community.

It seems that Ravens, the nameless mercenaries who pilot machines known as Armored Cores, and by extension, the players themselves, have more in common with their avian namesake than just the name itself. It is said that a raven in its youth travels in a conspiracy. But when a raven matures, it flies alone.


As seen on the front page. Sort of inspired by The Final Edits done by Team Liquid.

Feel free to comment, flame, critique, whatever here.
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#2
The community observations are true.

...And I really don't like the changes made during the transition to Armored Core 4. I've tried to force myself to play it a number of times, but I just don't like it. It's very hypocritical of Fromsoft to be releasing old AC games for PSP when they could have been working on a next-gen title that would be more familiar for the older AC players.
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#3
I'm very much inclined to agree as well, especially with the life-long friendships that people forge when they meet in real life. I'd point out that the Core Dump community, one of the first English AC fansites established back in 1997, still lives on in RH with most of its original members still keeping in touch with each other. I think this was mainly due to eventually meeting up for various AC related events such as Master Of California where it was a joint event by Ravens Nest Northern California and Ravens Nest Irvine, the members of whom are also affiliated with AC Core Dump before it shut down.

Some of them still play AC (FA) though, but not as religiously as back then.
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#4
All too true. The younger generation of players don't really have enough "love" for the PS1/PS2 games, hence being easily attracted to all the bells and whistles of the next-gen games. It really did feel like the end of an era when they released that game.

That just my two cents. Everyone's entitled to their own opinion anyway.
"May those who accept their fate find happiness. May those who defy their fate find glory."
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#5
the current market targets the more "basic" needs fhlashy graphics , gore and what not as opposed to the more indept and intellectual games of old like zork, fallout, xenogears, and pong ...

its all about money these days...
whargarrblwhargarrblwhargarrbl!

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#6
not to mention the "instant gratification" these young gamers crave....as evidenced by the ever increasing popularity of the trophy system.
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#7
ALL I WANT IS A LAST RAVEN UPDATE (PSP version) AND INCLUDING A MODS SDK FOR IT!!!!!!!!
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#8
90% of this forum's posts aren't about Armored Core anymore, and I joined because of Armored Core.

That sucks, but I'm still posting here on occasion.

What sucks more is that if the people in charge force the forums into being 100% Armored Core again, it'll probably be even worse. There's just not enough to draw new gamers into the series as a hobby anymore.
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#9
(09-26-2009, 09:53 AM)AppleHead Wrote: What sucks more is that if the people in charge force the forums into being 100% Armored Core again, it'll probably be even worse. There's just not enough to draw new gamers into the series as a hobby anymore.

Then it should come as good news to you then, where the site's direction is going to be headed.

Sometimes I wish AC never moved past it's height of AC3 and SL. I get that interest in the game has dwindled, but did it really get more boring than, say, Gran Turismo? Sure, there were new cars and updated graphics as the newer games came out, but the core of the game was still the same - customize you car, then go out and race. Did fanbase size really matter that much, so that GT still lives in the limelight while AC's been left to the wayside? Or did the generally anal nature of AC's fans turn off newbies more?
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#10
While it is true that older games are slowly fading, you guys are still lucky to have experienced playing AC in PVP-face2face-man2man(and still doing so).
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#11
I actually found AC4 (and forAnswer) to be somewhat of a release from the more constricted previous versions. However, the fact that you have to get a new console to be able to play AC4 (and forAnswer) killed the interest for the majority of my friends.
[Image: Method.gif][Image: oblivionef3.gif]
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#12
after reading this thread..thoughts..again and again Jason

actually, when i started my madness in games..and it started on the playstation platform

only TWO games

GRAN TURISMO & ARMORED CORE

period.

really love the series!

I dunno...but Armored Core is less appreciated by others, because the series is very less influencial (unlike the gundam series, but i dont really appreciated it *mechs with primary colors* my apology for gundam fans), very complex (imagine the vast number of stats and the "senses" you must have..in order to understand it), requires skills (that very few have...we Ravens have it, a different kind of skills)

and Armored Core in not just like any games...that only requires you to hit some buttons to play (well, you can't operate an AC by just clicking the mouse, then bang! F1 to F8... hahaha). when piloting an AC, its like playing a musical instrument Ninja (get it? playing with the buttons of the controller with harmony...simultaneously)

Intellectual, Complexity, State-of-the-Art, Uniqueness....this is what Armored Core is all about, that we, Ravens, are the only ones who really capable of appreciating its shining beauty (that other casual gamers don't. what a pity Glare )


=^.^=
[Image: upeo113pr8.gif]


State-of-the-Art
Functionality
Balance



---
"I am more of a Teacher rather than a Pilot"
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#13
I've been reading somewhat similar threads in the other english AC forums. I wonder how the japanese feel about this issue(this decline in AC community), or are they experiencing this at all.
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#14
Hahah JE, links naman. Those'd be interesting to read too. Ano pa ba buhay na AC forum? RR is more active than ACG and RH. ACO is nothing like it used to be. And it's down half the time too. Sad. AC-wiki seems to be doing ok.
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#15
(10-13-2009, 11:15 PM)NiX Wrote: Hahah JE, links naman. Those'd be interesting to read too. Ano pa ba buhay na AC forum? RR is more active than ACG and RH. ACO is nothing like it used to be. And it's down half the time too. Sad. AC-wiki seems to be doing ok.

Heto na(mabagal kasi internet ko)
ACO

ACG


I also noticed declining activity in ACFAN and Moonlightsword is gone.
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