TSM Episode 262: Sorrow in South Africa

Caught at short leg off an inside edge for 3. Goodbye, Captain Smith. You can certainly hold your head high.
Graeme Smith is dismissed for the last time.

Download: Produced 2014.03.09

Microsoft’s refusal to build datacentres in Africa is to blame when Titanfall fails to fall and sorrow strikes South Africa. Durga Syn and Regg join Caspius in a Bono-inspired attempt to lighten the hearts of a distressed and downtrodden people.


  1. This is too important not to be in writing. (Slightly altered grammatically.)

    “All of humanity is a loot grind because what people value in this world is production of material assets. We produce things as a race that allow us to produce things more quickly, which is effectively what a loot grind is. You farm for items that will allow you to farm for items more rapidly or farm for slightly better items, which is what all human technology is. It’s a way of making more technology more quickly. Where as the things that actually are valuable, like the things that have real, transcendental, eternal value are not the widgets. The iPhone is nice but the iPhone doesn’t have transcendental value. It’s useful but it isn’t art. So, Keats that we just heard is transcendental value. It’s beauty. That’s what human beings should actually be working on and it’s not what they are working on. I have to spend all of my time fighting against human beings who think that what I do is irrelevant because it’s about art.”

  2. The Wind Rises (the new/last Miyazaki film) is very good, more tense and powerfully emotional than I expected, and isn’t really a biopic. In short, I’d compare it to Grave Of The Fireflies more than any other Ghibli film but with fantasy airship dream sequences mixed in.

  3. Top quality episode for all the right reasons.

    As for transcendence, I don’t think it can be found in something as material and external as a book, but much like the words of Christ or the words which poetry uses to point towards the immaterial, if nobody taught the material, people might not know where to find it. Prease understand.

  4. In regards to the comment request: I think I comment somewhat regularly, but I rarely feel I have anything worthwhile to contribute. I’m not even familiar with a lot of the titles the articles are based on, and I feel quite the fool for showing up to simply say ‘Good work’ because it’s a disappointing response to the effort put in. When and if my financial situation improves (I’m really tired of living on the proverbial edge here) I’ll just donate where I can.

    I also agree with what Zoltan said above me, and it is these kinds of insights that prevented me from turning away from the sight during a needless spat over musical tastes. In a gamingsphere shaped by so many sellouts, corporate shills, and redundant, social justice rhetoric, a clear voice that doesn’t veil intent or pander to mass tastes is both welcome, and rare.

  5. Here at Caspius.com, being needlessly shat upon for trivial and unimportant reasons isn’t an occasional accident–it’s a part of the experience!

    Actually, in thinking about it, we generally don’t argue with people over important things. We attack them for horribly, awfully insignificant things, and just bang on about that forever. LIKE ETHOS BEING GAY HA HA HA HA HA.


    This week’s panel
    Durge Syn

    FFX play through coming soon?

    Cricket news

    No Titans to fall in South Africa

    20K leagues above the clouds

    DLC is CLD backwards!

    Austria Censorship

    Statue of David with a gun

    Hastings Error
    Hastings sells games, books, movies and music. There were several of them near my hometown. It sounds like a terrible policy to cancel preorders when they post the wrong price, but I guess not everyone can give the low price guarantee.

    Jack Trenton

    Raimi Last of Us

    Kerbal NASA program
    Kerbal Space Program is a pretty great game if you like building things and very precise simulations. In my time with the game I was never able to get to the moon and only ever managed to launch a ship into solar orbit.

    Keat’s Lamia

    Dice Admiral’s gaming moment:
    This week I played D&D 4E. I’m DMing a campaign for 3 D&D newbs and their NPC helper. The two encounters that I put forth for them this week were designed to show them some rules they had not yet used. The first had three human enemies behind cover firing crossbows whilst some smaller creatures harried them. The -5 to hit proved to be a pretty large hurdle to overcome to defeat the enemies in cover, but they eventually did. After that, they fought a solo type creature, a Cocatrice. I told them that it looked like a chicken and they decided not to take it seriously and were nearly petrified for their effort. Also in this encounter were psuedodragons which have poisonous stringers and the ability to become invisible. I think the party now realizes the value of good cover, not taking enemies lightly, and the power of being invisible.

    Africa by Toto

  7. @Dice: Not this week; we got straight to it!

    When I ran introductory D&D events, I also used Cockatrices as an early challenge. Same result: everyone always nearly ends up dead from petrify.

    So much for that low CR.

  8. Apologies for the late Info Blast. I have to accomplish other things while I create it and if I can’t focus enough attention to grab the stories as I hear them mentioned then I have to delay it until I have a bit higher mental bandwidth. That being said I did enjoy this episode, however I’d hesitate to agree with you about producing things to produce more things. There are going to be exceptions, but I think that most people will have more time to appreciate art and such things if they can produce their work more quickly.

  9. @Dice: That’s the false assumption that lies behind modern work. In fact, most people work more, post-Industrial revolution, than they did before.

    Indeed, look at the average work week since the beginning of the electronic revolution down to now. It hasn’t been shortened. People don’t have ‘more free time’. They have more time to work.

    The false promise of technology is that it will give us more time for leisure. In fact, it gives up more time for increasing technology. Forever.

  10. Fair point, but technology does allow for greater tools for the creation of and media for the creation of art. For example: Without digital compositional tools our very own Zoltan would never be able to make his remix tracks.

  11. Absolutely technology can improve and expand art, but in terms of the human psyche, I’m with Caspius all the way. I don’t think being able to do things faster only makes us work more, but gives us the false impression that things can be sorted far more quickly than they can. Tweet your opinion, like a soundbite, record a six second video. Certainly restriction can spawn creativity, but in this case, it also often causes people to forget that there is more than one speed setting and that multiple speed settings can apply to multiple things for different effect. We have forgotten to ponder, consider, and experiment and instead judge, react, and stiffen.


    Which, for the record, is less of a joke and more of a bland, largely false, statement.

  12. @Dice – One of the points I never ended up making was: can modern minds properly take advantage of modern technology? I see few examples, although I shouldn’t be too fooled by what is easiest to see.

  13. Ah yes, and on a second listen through I am reminded to say that Laputa: Castle in the Sky was also my favorite Miyazaki movie.

  14. Great podcast as always, too bad SiliconNooB couldnt be in the podcast. The stick of truth took me 15 hours to complete, doing all the side missions.

    I didnt expect the porn talk xD

  15. I’d like to propose that with the upcoming playthrough of Final Fantasy X, we hereby refer to Tidus and Yuna by their proper names: Yidus and Tuna. That is all.

  16. Ohmygod, Tidus is secretly Meg Ryan. It all just makes so much fucking sense.

  17. Now that we know that Meg Ryan is Tidus, what are the implications for the storyline of Final Fantasy X?

  18. That it is in fact a B-grade Hollywood comedy romance with terrible acting, bad one-liners and predictable, convenient plot points all wrapped up with an impeccably bad sense of fashion?

  19. … not much really. Calling Yuna Tuna seems a lot more fitting sense this is clearly now a lesbian relationship.

  20. I will now play FFX whilst carefully watching for Meg Ryan’s attempts to get some Yuna Tuna.

  21. Good hunting to both yourself, the player/voyeur, and to Meg Tidus, fisherwoman extraordinaire!

  22. I’ve never played FFX nor do I intend to devote any of my limited time to the remake, so I’m really not understanding what everyone else is getting from this game. It sounds like you guys don’t really like it, and what I’ve heard of the plot seems pretty dumb. Is everyone excited for this remake/Lusi Plays feature because of the combat system or something that I can’t really experience without actually playing the game? And if that is the case, then why not play any of a number of games with good gameplay AND a good story?

  23. Oh I’ve never played it. I may or may not play the remake at some point in the distant future, but no immediate plans. Just can’t afford to, and am occupied with other things. I’m just enjoying the good humour surrounding what is obvious a reluctant concession to staff members/readers. Or perhaps just an exercise in self-inflicted torment. Either way.


    Sheesh, you people are almost as bad as my staff members!

  25. I HAS ANOTHER QUESTION. Seriously, I keep meaning to ask after hearing your take on WoW (which I’ve never played), how you feel about Final Fantasy XIV? I have eyed it curiously since it’s relaunch and plan to make it my first MMO experience. Would you advise against this? It’s art direction and callback to Ivalice are big draws.

  26. Final Fantasy XIV is a beautiful game with a wonderful gameplay system. It is currently somewhat lacking in end-game, but with a good Free Company (i.e. Guild), you can probably have a decent time nevertheless.

    The ultimate problem is as it is with all MMOs: Are you willing to accept a game whose premise is simply to get gear for the purpose of getting better gear until you have the best gear–at which point, you must wait for an update when still better gear will be added?

    WoW is a good, solid, dependable, and constantly-updated game. You can play it on anything. And you can rest assured that it will never lag far behind the times. Blizzard is serious about keeping it competitive and they constantly tinker with it to make sure that no other MMO steals a march on them. It has a lot of stuff beyond the basic PvE gear-grind: there’s PvP Combat and Pet Battles, so players can get the best gear and then fight against other human beings, which gives one an ever-changing target whilst waiting for content updates. If you don’t like PvP (like me), then this isn’t going to interest you.

    FFXIV is made by a company with a notorious habit of never changing anything. At the present, it compares semi-favourably, but my concern with its long-term feasibility has to do with SE’s reluctance to change things down the road. I can’t imagine them ever implementing the kinds of changes that Blizzard has done to WoW. And consequently, one wonders how competitive FFXIV will be in a few years’ time.

  27. The reason I play RPGs, and in particular JRPGs has little to with the pursuit of the gear, or story (in most cases. I always have a soft spot for the original Lunar), but an absolute wonderment of the world itself. A simple overhead walk through a winding path in a forest with falling petals, the lapping waves on the virtual sands, the mist obscuring the next hillside, the soft glow of candle light coming from the church in the distance, etc.

    Part of why I look at WoW with no interest is it’s art direction. It’s not bad. It’s simply not to my liking. XIV, by comparison, is vivid, lively, and full of those little environmental details that JRPG lovers like ourselves take notice of. So in answer: I would not be playing the game with a deep interest in the mechanics (though good mechanics would certainly make the experience a longer-term engagement), I’d be doing so to admire the world craft.

    You do make very valid points about Blizzard’s dedication to making WoW a dedicated, long-term effort, but from what I understand XI did a fairly good job of catering to it’s players in a similar fashion up until recently.

  28. @Wolfe: Having recently played FFXI (and having had played it for the first seven years of its NA existence) I can confirm that they have made changes, but nothing even *remotely* like what I am talking about.

    Blizzard is perfectly willing to throw the entire game system out and start over to make it modern. The Final Fantasy XI system in place today is exactly the same as that in place at launch. XP has been boosted, but it still lags behind. The game remains hopelessly arcane and impenetrable to anyone who hasn’t got a lot of friends in-game and an encyclopaedia to hand. Even finding quests requires foreknowledge, let alone trying to complete them without directions or maps. Using abilities effectively–any ability–requires the creation of macros. Per ability. Which are not stored on the server. And this requires a knowledge of the macro language. It’s all terribly, terribly unintuitive.

    By comparison, Vanilla WoW is not in any way the same game as WoW today. Literally nothing is the same. The entire world has been rebuilt. The old quests themselves are gone. When I say Blizzard are willing to update their game, I mean that they are willing to build a new game every couple of years. FFXI, on the other hand, has largely made updates on the order of ‘you can level up more quickly’. Compare this to Pet Battles, PvP zones, Raid Finder, Flex-Raid, Dungeon Finder, Scenarios, Halfhill, and so on– there really isn’t a comparison there.

    I’m sure that people who play and are in love with FFXI think that the changes are significant. And sure, if all you experience is FFXI, any changes would feel significant. But when you have a somewhat broader view of MMOs, then you see what ‘significant’ changes actually look like. IT was an insular mindset which did for the launch of FFXIV, and it is something they addressed with the relaunch.

    The concern I have is that they still seem unwilling to be entirely willing to make *huge* changes, and that they are becoming increasingly so over time. Once FFXIV ossifies and becomes something which they are reluctant to really update, it’s done for. It will become the next FFXI–a game with a tiny population, effectively in a ‘maintenance’ mode.

  29. Ah, I see, I see. Having no real experience with MMOs, I’m never sure what questions to ask about the experience that my brain will translate into useful information. Your explanation was pretty clearcut and appreciated.

    My XI friend stopped playing it years ago, yet lingered on with WoW for some time. His biggest complain was commonly that XI turned into a waiting game for finding a party to tackle dungeons, which he said wasn’t an issue with WoW. Most recently he’s become disenchanted with MMOs in general, having also given XIV a quick try only to say that it had too many of XI’s social-emphasis trappings.

    To my stance about RPGs and a general love of the worlds from inside the game, that approach -has- backfired many, many times with titles like White Knight Chronicles. Perhaps XIV would be a similar experience. Beautiful to behold, but ultimately unlikely to hold my interest.

    Square says they’re pretty dedicated to upkeeping XIV. But then, Square says a lot of things that aren’t true in the long term. Or even short term, really.

  30. Square believes they are ‘upkeeping’ FFXI, so one has to take that term with a grain of salt.

    In an MMO, you have to be willing to engage with the game systems to see the world. You can’t just wander around looking at stuff. And, quiet honestly, as pretty as it all is, that won’t keep you playing.

    I loved FFXI’s beautiful vistas, and I loved FFXIV’s almost as much–but they’re not real and there simply aren’t that many to see. MMOs, even the largest, are still very small (and with access restricted by level). That’s not enough to keep up a game with a monthly subscription cost, esp. given the time investments required to get access to the things one wants to see.

  31. Well sir, you have just made my decision for me in three simple sentences. Thank you very much for resolving that question that’s been nagging at me.

  32. They made it into a play before! We’ve posted the pictures and talked about it!

  33. This being the internet and thereby a place for cynical contrarianism, if too many people have been gushing positively about Dark Souls 2 of late then allow me this position that I feel comfortable stating:

    Dark Souls 2 is a game that shows its original director is no longer on board as it cribs directly and nearly equally in its design choices from both Demon’s Souls and Dark Souls, and not always for the better. However, the game was very well funded and prepared for so the result is a very polished effort that plays less like a “best-of” and more like a “second helping” of the good stuff in the previous two games. Some design choices seem glaringly “safe” as if they were afraid to upset a rabid fanbase. Others seem like cameo additions more than series traditions, if that makes sense. But, of course, I’m enjoying myself immensely. This might be a case of “too hard to get it wrong” but I’m ok with that. Now, by the time Dark Souls 5 is out and we’re still seeing all of these things, don’t expect me to come to the same conclusion.

    I’m not done with the game, but I guess that’s my current opinion.

  34. Re: Dark Souls 2: I’m enjoying it. That’s more than I can say for a lot of things I’ve played in this past generation.

  35. Thanks for the link, Caspius. Ironically that on the drive home, NPR was discussing just this, with one of the guests insisting that the current administration is, as he put it, creating the illusion of social class warfare’. I didn’t hear the end, but I can assume it ended in some rather spectacular debate.

  36. It’s a well made game, but I just couldn’t help picking a couple nits.

  37. No worries, I’ve got more than a few issues with it. Response lag in a game that requires precision, needlessly long animations for certain weapons, being cornered by a crowd of enemies who beat you to a pulp en masse with no means of proper defense, as the battle system is intended and at it’s best for one-on-one conflict, etc. I like it a lot. But so far, I liked Dark Souls 1 more.

  38. I haven’t had those issues with combat. What kind of character are you running? (this goes for anyone else as well! Do chime in!) I’m playing a heavy hitting Str/Dex tanky build with lots of Stamina and Vitality to use the heavier armors. So I’m using the Claymore (though it’s not as good as the Black Knight Greatsword, I’ve discovered), and those weapons WRECK house with groups of enemies. My only disadvantage is ranged combat but I have Pyromancies for that, and also if I need to roll a lot I’m usually boned since I have near 100% equip burden at most times. So far I can shield tank almost anything with my Greatshield at 74 Poise.

    But something else I’m finding that’s not got me thrilled is the lack of direction. I’m continually lost in where to go. I finish an area and just have no idea where to go next. It’s just a dead end. Being obtuse in the plotline or some aspect of what to do is ok and being open ended and less linear is fine, but this game REALLY lacks a sense of direction. You have to just randomly prod around places you’ve been to in order to progress in some cases. Dark Souls 1 never gave me that problem. If I couldn’t progress in that game it was because the enemies were kicking my ass, not because I didn’t know where to fucking GO next. I’ve spent hours so far wondering around before finding out what to do or who to talk to. One of the greatest strengths of Dark Souls 1 was how tightly designed its environment was and how everything fit together amazingly. DS2’s world is so HUGE as to be ungainly (at least for now, while I’m new) and all the warp points and locales blend together. I was never once lost for direction in Dark Souls 1. In this regard DS2 combines Demon’s Souls warp-oriented travel and Dark Souls 1’s interconnected world and it comes of as worse than just one or the either.

  39. I’m running with a strength-based tank for my first character. I always power through these kind of affairs early on, until I learn the system completely at which time I will respec into a dex based melee. I’m currently using a flame longsword and the Drangleic sword, and alternating armours depending on how fast I need to be moving at the time.
    I’m still having combat issues where button response lags, which is also an issue when you approach an NPC and have to wait for the menus to pop up.

    One problem I’ve -really- been annoyed with: When I backstab a foe, I immediately switch to two handed form to deliver massive damage before they get back up. However, in doing that, it keeps making me two handed grip my shield, rather than blade, for some reason. Which usually results in my death.

    I agree with you on the being lost front. This is the actual definition of open world game. It’s wide open and you just tread around and find things you didn’t notice before that lead into whole new areas, or come back to a locked door you’d forgotten about and find yet another winding area. Dark Souls, I always said was the bastard child of Zelda 2 and Symphony of the Night, and the area design in this one makes it even more evident.

  40. It’s odd you’re having response lag on a console. I’m not noticing it on mine. The menus DO take some time to load in, as do some of the menu images. But I’ve not encountered animation or input lag of any kind.

    Also, your issue with two-handing your shield is because you’re holding Triangle down too long (assuming you’re using a PS3, on a 360 it’s Y). Tapping Triangle two-hands your main-hand item and *holding* Triangle slightly longer allows you to two-hand your off-hand item (which is usually a shield). This is different from Dark Souls 1, because in 2 they wanted to make dual wielding weapons more viable and in doing so they allow you to two-hand either your left or right equipped item. Just tap Triangle and you’re good.

  41. Lag response is still happening. Particularly when I go to hit the estus flask (the animation being longer for it is just a bad choice on top). Targeting in pvp is way off, with my weapon literally going the opposite direction of my enemy four times straight. I was not only indignant, I was ready to throw the thing out the window in frustration.

    In addition, the Iron Keep level is an exercise in tedium, and cheapness. Setting you up to have multiple duels with samurai-like knights while four or five archers with insta-staggering arrows results in a dog-pile of aggro damage and leaves you feeling like you faced a challenge that could be overcome fairly, and more like a lame attempt to up the difficulty reputation by spamming you with enemies.

    Now that said, I also find that there’s many improvements. There’s a ton of more diverse, absolutely beautiful locations that have stopped me dead in my tracks and made me say, “Whoaaaa.” The instant repair of weapons and gear without a need to meticulously do so item by item, as well as the ability to snap off several lost souls to add to your own are welcome. The animation of the clothing is a very nice touch, and the importance of covenants add a lot more to the gameplay and will no doubt extend the game’s life.

    I like Dark Souls 2 a lot. I’m just hoping they patch up some fixes for the issue of lag with the same care they did with the first Dark Souls.

  42. How high is your Adaptability stat? It governs a lot of things, one of them being how fast you can use healing items. So if it’s low, that’s why and how to fix your laggy healing. Your PvP lag might just be… internet lag. As for swinging in the opposite direction (I swear I’m not being trying to be a dick!) that also might be a design in the game. Even when locked on with some weapons if you hold the left analogue stick in a direction while swinging you’ll swing in that direction instead of the lock-on direction. I know this is true of things like the Greatsword and other Ultra Greatsword Class weapons. It’s messed me up too, but once I knew why it was happening I was able to keep myself in control more.

    And in the Iron Keep I was able to shield tank the greatarrows, it was more an issue of finding and dealing with the archers themselves since I’m not so strong on distance combat. I mean, I dunno how much further into the game you are but Iron Keep is far from the hardest place imo.

    My biggest complaint so far is the uninspired boss designs, both visually and how they fight. But one of my biggest compliments is how the weapons are much more versatile. Dual weilding is now a thing. If you have two similar weapons in each hand, hold Triangle for a bit to set them up, then press L1 or L2 for dual attacks. Early game the Heide sword and Flame Longsword make a devastating combo.

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