Sunday, March 24, 2013

Free To Play Nonsense

I've dabbled in a lot of free to play games lately, and since I haven't written anything in almost three months I figured I'd share my experiences with everyone.

I'll do a short intro, blurb, and then a love/hate line on each game.  Maybe this'll help a few fellow gamers out there that are feeling as lost as I am, craving the days of committing to a game for months at a time instead of bouncing through the free to play (F2P) wasteland that now occupies gaming as a whole.

League of Legends:  

The last article I wrote about LoL was pretty nasty, and focused on how the community is mostly unchecked by Riot Games, which fails to take simple and easy steps to avert the rabid toxicity that plagues their community.

That being said, it remains - without question - the game I have played the most throughout the course of my life.  Maybe that makes it the best game ever - a spot firmly belonging to FFVII as far as I'm concerned.  But putting things into perspective, I've played LoL HEAVILY for over three years now.  I haven't touched FFVII in at least half a decade.  Maybe that says something.

What I love about the game:  Quick, easily accessible PVP in a complex environment.  Fun game play that rewards creativity and understanding as well as skill.  Games are short enough to sit down for about an hour and feel accomplished, yet long enough to just get aggravating if they go more than 45 minutes.

What I hate about the game:  Pretty much everything I said in my last article (which you can read here).  The community is terrible.  And since I last wrote, they introduced a new ranking system that I neither understand or agree with.  But at least it's a change, and any change away from their previous format is a good one.

Star Trek Online:

I played this on release, and quickly became bored.  PVP (something I look for in every game) was an absolute mess and afterthought in the design process - and it was blatantly evident.  Since then, the game has went free to play and has undergone a significant transformation.

It's now a must-try for any fan of the series, as well as anyone that enjoys the idea of ship vs. ship combat in a 3d environment.  The on-foot combat is still mediocre at best, but thankfully it can be a relatively small part of the game if that's how you want to play.

A significant amount of content is being developed for the game, that's a good thing to see.

What I love about the game:  I'm in control of what I do and how I do it.  A good amount of customization allows me to feel unique and specialized (something EVERY GAME NEEDS TO DO, AND MOST FAIL TO DO).  The space combat is very well done as a whole, except for...

What I hate about the game:  The space combat control, and the on-foot combat in general feel clunky.  After a significant key remapping I finally found something that worked for me.  Significant is the key word in that sentence.

Wizardry Online:

Another typical example of a rushed game with a horrendous launch it will never recover from.  When will game developers learn?  Probably never.  In spite of all disaster that this game launched to earlier this year, it's got me sucked into it's rather straight-forward, DND-esque game play. 

The aspect of permanent death is one that I both love and hate.  Criminal actions in the game (attacking other players, stealing, etc.) make you vulnerable, able to be attacked by anyone.  However, as I mentioned, this game has the potential (and very real threat) of permanently losing a character forever.

The way they accomplish this is with soul strength.  When you die, you have a % to revive based on your level, circumstances of death, number of deaths recently, and other factors.  Most of the time at lower levels, that % is 100, and you can die and revive while you learn the game at no risk.  However, after level 7 or so, that number goes down, and you need to either take the chance of 'ashing' (your get out of permadeath free card) or permanently losing your character forever if you've already 'ashed'.

You can augment that % by offering up gold, items, equipment, in order to appease the gods.  However, while you're doing this, any criminal can loot your gear anyway.

A DND game with consequences.  Groundbreaking.

What I love about the game:  Familiar settings and spells, simple game design and mechanics but still a level of specialization and uniqueness to my character.  Allows me to actually invest my experience into skills instead of cookie-cuttering me through the leveling process.  You can share items between characters on your account (your soul), to augment losing everything on your current character if you die.  Some skills carry over to new characters, and a few other neat things in the soul system.

What I hate about the game: Griefing other players is sparse, but with permanent death a possibility - it puts that much more on the table to lose.  Most of the people playing seem to just be dabbling - the game completely lacks that hard-core fan base.  Also, the atmospheric bloom and lighting in this game are the worst I've ever seen.  I'm sure you'll agree if you try it - and promptly turn the effects off.


Heh, two in a row.  TERA Launched well, but the PR and reviews surrounding the game were a nightmare.  It was slapped with the cookie cutter World-of-Warcraft (WoW) moniker and it was abandoned by the player base.

After the exodus, the game went free to play last year and hasn't looked back.  The population is now steady - there are people everywhere.  Contests, and a FANTASTIC free to play model that shuns pay to win nonsense.

The game remains a great MMORPG, the comparison to WoW is just in every way except combat.  In TERA, you need to understand how to use your character in active combat.  You can't stand there while the big ass monster (BAM - An actual term used in-game) pummels you.  You'll die.  You need to dodge, retreat to get healed, use the correct skills to soak damage, etc.  There's also no auto-targeting, you have to aim your abilities.  A VERY big distinction from the auto-targeting of WoW-esque games.

What I love about the game:  Fun combat, interesting classes and a somewhat-unique skill system that allows you to specialize as you see fit; when you see fit with no penalty or delay (unless currently fighting something).  Good population and community.  NOT pay to win!  Great guild vs. guild system, and even a complex political structure!

What I hate about the game:  Not much, honestly.  Good population, not much griefing nonsense (in spite of playing on a PVP server).  Can be a little grindy and quest hubs are very much alive.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Riot Games Fosters the Worst Online Community In League of Legends

The title of this article is a little harsh.  The worst online community?  Fosters?  I firmly believe in both of those words being an accurate representation of the current state of the League of Legends (LoL) community.

It is without a doubt the worst community I have had the displeasure of dealing with.  Yet I keep going back, again and again, hoping things will change, because LoL is ultimately a fun game that I enjoy playing - regardless of some people's efforts to ensure that I have a bad experience.

Before I start, full disclosure:  I have had my account banned for a total of ~2 weeks throughout my 2000+ game career in LoL.  My actions pertaining to those bans made them completely justified, and I can only describe those actions as 'losing my shit' on a teammate (or opponent) for one of the many reasons I'll list below.

These are in no particular order - feel free to add your own comments at the bottom of this, I'm more than happy to discuss everything I've written in this article.

And here it is, my list of reasons why the community in LoL is an atrocity, and how to fix most of the problems:

Games on Summoners Rift take (on average) 45 minutes or longer to play.

By far the most popular game type; between a minute or so spent in the queue, banning, champion select, queue dodges, more queue dodges, and the loading screen games take a serious time commitment to complete, even if your team surrenders at 20 minutes.

I've been gaming for a long time, and even when I'm really into another game, I often find myself bringing up my email on another monitor, or chatting with a friend, wasting time on facebook, etc.  Aside from LoL, I probably NEVER devote a solid 45 minutes to just the game I'm playing without any distractions.

Listing this isn't very constructive, as LoL is currently the #1 video game in the world for good reasons, the game play.  Shortening games would ruin that to one extent or another.  But it's important to understand the commitment to a game of LoL when understanding why the community is the way it is.

I'm relying on 9 other people in order to ensure my game play experience is positive.

Unless you're raiding, it's rather unlikely that you play games where your enjoyment of that game lies squarely on the shoulders of nine other players for the duration of the session.  Got a bad teammate that refuses to not try and 1v5 the other team?  Too bad, you lose the game, and at least half an hour of your life.

Even if its an opponent that AFK's or disconnects from the game, making it an easy win - plenty of players have a problem with that.  I play LoL because I like the competitive edge of it - I enjoy a good, challenging win.  And while I'll take a free bump in ranking any way I can get it, it never feels quite right.

Again, another inherent game design mechanic that can not be changed - yet one that adds to the frustration factor.  At any point, you are only 10% in control of what's currently occurring in the match.

The game does next to nothing in promoting good behavior.

As I mentioned, I've been banned a few times.  I learned my lesson after the last one, which arguably cost me a gold ranking in the 2nd season of the game (I ended up being banned for the last few weeks, even though the season was extended, ending up ~3-4 games short).

But what about my behavior since then?  I've conformed and been a better player - I've even gone so far as to be helpful to my teammates after a game is over, to help them understand what they did wrong.  Yet, there's no reward.  (is the reward not being banned again?)

I agree that a system rewarding multiple-ban accounts having now-beneficial behavior since their ban can be abused - but this is a free to play game.  If all I wanted to do was slaughter teams, I'd keep making low-level accounts and continue to not care if I got banned.  A reward in the form of a small IP bonus for completing X games without being reported would go a long way.

"Hey, you've clearly made a change in your behavior.  This marks your 10th game without being reported to the Tribunal, here's 100 IP as a reward.  Keep up the good work!"

Even if people wanted to abuse that system, they could only do it so much - and would need to actually get banned in the first place and not play the game, in order to get the small IP rewards.  That would be super counter productive, and pointless.

Riot allows anyone that has reached level 30 to play in ranked games.

I was there when level 20's could play in pre-season 1.  And it was a disaster.  But throwing someone who just reached level 30 into the competitive mix is equally as insane.  There is no possible way a player, having just reached level 30, is experienced enough to play in a competitive environment, even a casual one.

As of this writing, there are ~100 champions.  Each one has at least 4 abilities, a handful of potential (viable) builds, and a few different roles they can assume.

In a ranked game, you can't come into the queue only knowing one role, having a handful of rune sets for an obscure amount of characters, and then insisting you're going to support with Master Yi because that's all you've got and you were last pick.  "Thanks for telling us that before hand."

There is a tremendous amount of knowledge needed to make ranked games in LoL enjoyable for the other 9 people involved in your match.  Ranked games shouldn't be a place to learn the game - yet almost every match below 1400 rating you see a player attempting to do so.

While there is no way to impose a "You must win 20 games in top lane, middle lane, as a jungler, adc, and support," before entering the ranked queue, there is a minimum games won limit that you can impose on a player entering the ranked queue.  I'd like to see it set at (least) 150 games won.  Yes, most casual players will not get there for awhile.  That's the point.

There also needs to be some way to ensure that the player has enough runes to play all the potential roles in the game, although I'm not even going to try and get specific on that.

There is no punishment for consistently performing poor in ranked, except for loss in the rating system (ELO).

Isn't ELO loss enough?  No, because people that are just experimenting with ranked and not trying to be competitive don't care that they lose ELO.  They just want to play the game and if they get a high rating, that's great - one more thing to brag about. 

I propose two new rules:

The first is for loss-streaks.  Some players get unlucky, others are just so horrendous at the game that they give up five minutes in after a discouraging early tower dive, and the rest of the team has to suffer the result.

I propose that at a loss streak of 5 games, you receive a simple message along the lines of; "You've now lost five consecutive ranked games.  Please consider taking a break for a game or two and attempt to hone your skills in the normal game queue."

After a loss of 8 games, disable the ranked queue until they win a normal game (or a period of time elapses, say 2 hours) - MAKE them take a break rather then further frustrate themselves or their teammates.

Enforce accordingly for repeat offenders.  With this system, it's possible to lose dozens of ranked games in a row - losing 16 games in a row would require 2 normal wins in order to re-open the ranked queue.  24 games, 3 wins, etc.  (not consecutive wins, just unranked, normal, wins in general, custom games never apply to this)  OR enforce a ranked-queue lock timer of appropriate length.

The second is for players that are unable to maintain a connection, repeatedly AFK in multiple games, or post high death scores multiple times in a given period (lets use 24 hours.)

For the purposes of point #2, completely ignore that players can be reported for leaving the game/afk, that's not good enough.  If a player receives the LEAVER status, or is reported by more than 49% of the players in a game as a leaver/afk, they receive a flag.  If they do it again that day, disable ranked for an hour.  If they do it again, disable ranked for the rest of the day.  If they do it the next day, disable it for a week and ban them from the game for a day.  If they do it the day it's enabled again, permaban them from ranked.

Truthfully, I don't care why you can't keep a connection - the fact is that you can't.  Don't come into the ranked queue and expect people not to rage when you intentionally throw games by either disconnecting, or playing when you know you might disconnect.  Eliminate the problem at the source.

What this comes down to is ridding the ranked queue of people that can not properly deal with the time commitment, or do not possess the internet connection needed to play the game.  These people do not belong in an environment that is attempting to foster a competitive atmosphere.

The same system would be in effect for players suffering 15+ deaths in multiple ranked games daily, albeit to lesser consequences.  Yes, I understand that sometimes you get singled out; "Soraka didn't take any escapes and keeps over extending, get her!" but I'm a firm believer that there is absolutely NO reason why a player should have 15+ deaths in a ranked game - the example above happens SO rarely that a surrender almost certainly occurs in every instance before the death count gets that high.

Example scenario:  First ranked game of the day you go X/17/X, you receive a warning - "Hey, stop fucking around."  Second ranked game, X/15/X, "Take a break and go play a normal game, the ranked queue is disabled for 24 hours, or until you complete a game through the normal queue."  If they play a normal game and then come back to ranked and go X/15+/X again, disable ranked for 48 hours, and increase it by 24 hour increments.  Eventually they'll realize they need to practice before they attempt to be competitive.

The ranked rating system is strictly based on winning or losing, and does not factor individual performance into a rating loss.

It's aggravating that in a 40 minute game, I can be 11/3/X, have a team mate quit because they didn't get blue buff, and then still lose a normal amount of ELO.  I did my part, and upheld the Summoner's Code.  *I* didn't lose that game, my jerk teammate did.  And while reporting them is a solution that sees results (albeit slowly and inconsistently at times), it doesn't compensate me for nearly an hour of my life wasted in that game.

Now I need to go play another game just to get that rating back?  And you expect me not to rage?

You have to be careful about this and how you fix it - but it needs to be fixed.

I'm not saying the best performer on the losing team should get a rating gain, but they should get something for their time.

I propose a voting system that will fix this problem entirely, one that is 100% impossible to abuse.

Each team votes on the other team's MVP at the end of a match - the vote is mandatory, you must vote for someone before you can leave the lobby at the end of the game unless ALL players agree that the entire team was at fault for the loss, unanimously.

So the losing team would also do the same.  Arbitrary example:

Players 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 play a game against players 6, 7, 8, 9, and 10.  The 1-5 team loses the game.

Players 1-5 would vote on the MVP of the winning team (since team 1-5 lost), in this case, they vote for player 8.  He receives a 50% bonus to his ranking gain for that game (instead of gaining 12 ELO, he gains 18)

At the same time, players 6-10 would vote on the MVP of the losing team, in this case, player 2.  He receives a 50% reduction in rating loss for that game (instead of losing 12 ELO, he loses 6.)

You could half the result for the runner-up to the MVP, giving them a 25% reduction and bonus, respectively.

This system would be completely disabled for full pre-made team ranked queues, (5v5's, 3v3's) for obvious reasons.

Since you do nothing to control the vote on your team, the system is 100% abuse proof.  You're voting on randomly matched up strangers and awarding them for their game play, regardless of ultimately winning or losing the game.

Completely disable cross-team chat in ranked games, never allow it to be turned on again.

Riot is so adamant about reforming their community that they hired all kinds of experts for ideas - yet didn't bother to take obvious steps.  Sure, cross-team chat is disabled by default - but trolls and angry/upset players don't care about that.  They enable it in one click and lash out.  Don't give them the opportunity and there won't be a problem.

Yes, I realize that they can still lash out at their own team.  Disabling same-team chat is an appealing option, but not a very good one - forcing people to coordinate via pings alone isn't an option.  Again, this is where the Tribunal comes in.

There is no reason why one team would need to talk to the other during a ranked game.  Not to be 'sportsmanlike', or to congratulate them, or to tell them that the river's warded and support Yi is right behind them meditating to save his life.  God I hate support Yi.

Instantly ban people using obvious profane language in-game as soon as their game ends and they exit the post game lobby.

Don't ban them forever, let's say 30 minutes for the first offense - multiply it if they keep it up. 

There is no reason the n-word should ever be typed in League of Legends, in any way or combination of characters.  There are easy ways to flag and detect it, and that technology is off-the-shelf available.  The same with most of the other vulgarity in most languages.  I guarantee you had I seen that technology implemented the first time I swore, I never would've been banned in LoL.  Ever.

But what about people that do something like "".  Short answer - that's what the tribunal is for.  Long answer, people are creative - but this immediately punishes the ones that aren't, or the ones that test the waters to see what they can get away with.  If they know they can't do it, the possibility they'll keep doing it becomes much more narrow.

So I've written this, and it's already way too long to be posted on my blog - yet I'm posting it anyway.  I've got many more ideas, and maybe after the holidays I'll put together some more articles on them.  Until then, let me know what you think about what I have so far.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Going Back

It's no secret that I've been visiting a few older games lately.  Everquest 2 was the first, but Champions Online, the Original Everquest, Guild Wars 2 (yes, it's still mostly new) and now The Secret World are all installed on my hard drive and eagerly hoping I launch them next.

While I've more or less given up on the majority of titles above, I can't help the overwhelming feeling that things are going in a good direction for games lately; especially in the MMORPG genre.  And that's mostly thanks to Funcom's announcement from early this morning that The Secret World would shift into a Buy to Play (B2P) model instead of the archaic subscription-model of yesteryear.  Sure, they still offer the subscription model to players, with some very nice perks - but it's totally optional. 

So, why does this give me hope?  It's pretty simple actually.  They removed the single biggest barrier of entry for players to return to their game - I don't need to dish out another $15 for a month subscription just to try the game again and see if I like the newest changes.  I can jump right in and check it out, maybe I'll even spend a few bucks on that purple pimp hat I've had my eye on. 

A lot of games don't do this - instead they offer a veterans weekend (or some-such titled nonsense) where players who bought the game and were subscribed at one point can come back and play for free for a few days.  Or something similar to Blizzard's Scroll of Resurrection system for World of Warcraft - which I think is INCREDIBLY fair and a great opportunity for players to return to the game. 

ArenaNet's Guild Wars (1 & 2) both have this buy-to-play model, never charging a subscription fee for players to access their game at any point after they make the initial purchase.  Things like expansions, cosmetic upgrades and convenience items are a few bucks extra if you want them - but they're by no means necessary.  Expansions usually being a little heavier on the wallet, they can often run players anywhere from $10-$30 (or even $60 if you're insane enough to buy collector's editions), but for games that you can always access and never have to pay another dime for, they're a great deal. 

Perhaps we're ready to see the industry shift to this model.  ArenaNet's had a great deal of success with the Guild Wars series, and a few other publishers are taking note.  If anything, maybe we'll see a few more games come out with an initial price tag and no subscription then the zero price tag, pay-to-win (P2W) models we've been flooded with lately.

In a final thought just for all you World of Warcraft players out there; you bought _____ expansion, but need to fork over $15 a month to play it.  That's right, you bought something, and now need to pay (again!) in order to use it.  Re-reading that, I'm so incredibly glad I didn't purchase the latest WoW expansion.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Wait A Minute, There's A Black Box In My Car?

As the title suggests, there's a great chance your car has a 'black box' in it - a device that records both the driver's control of the vehicle, as well as the vehicle's over all performance and response.

ABC (and most other major news outlets) are reporting that this past Friday (Dec. 7th, 2012) the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is proposing 'long-delayed' regulations on auto manufacturers to include event data recorders.

That might startle some people, but honestly, this isn't anything new.  The chances are good that if your car has an airbag, and was made in the late 90's or sooner that it already has an event data recorder of some type in it.  The earlier devices would constantly record the driver's input along with the cars reaction, just in case a crash were to occur.  If such an event happened the recorder would save the previous 10-15 seconds in memory allowing insurance companies and law enforcement to recall that data at a later date for analysis.  Did you really apply the brakes?  Was your seat belt fastened?  And why were you going 91 in a 65 anyway?

That last part about speeding is a shot at former NJ Governor John Corzine, who was injured in a car accident back in 2007 when an NJ State Trooper swerved "to avoid an out of control driver".  Last time I checked, it was easier to avoid people when you were going nearly 30 mph slower.  Moving on.

You've actually been able to voluntarily subject your driving habits to insurance companies for quite some time now.  Progressive is probably the most well-known insurance company offering such a service with their snapshot discount marketing campaign, but there are countless others offering literally the same thing.  From what I've heard, the people that have used those little snitches have fared very well - if they were able to curtail their driving habits for a time.

Further understanding these devices is something most people aren't interested in.  Most of the consumer-interest groups are hollering that it's an invasion of privacy, some even going so far as to say that the government snuck these boxes in our vehicles to spy on us.  I get a good laugh at people who think privacy still exists - but I'll take play devils advocate here for a moment.

So, let's say for a moment that your car has been black-boxed since 1995, and that the government knows your every move.  They know how fast you were going, if you tried to stop before rear-ending that school bus, and whether or not you were coming from home or work.

Ok, so when does the government retrieve all that data?   Very few cars have satellite transmitters and/or hard drives to store the mountains of information the car acquires every second.  In fact, almost no cars currently have the capability to do that in real time, comparatively speaking.  The way these boxes work is by saving the info for about 10-15 seconds before an incident occurs, otherwise the information is discarded after about a minute or so (assumption).  You can't pop open your car's computer and try to prove you weren't speeding.  But imagine if you could.  Then imagine cops could use it against you too.

Oh, wait - the government can already track your movements whenever it wants to via your cell phone?  So can most clever hackers who understand how the internet and GPS tracking works (if they really wanted to)?  What's that you say, they've been able to do this for over a decade?  Right.  Sure, they need a warrant to do that under most circumstances.  At least they do if they're going to tell you about it.

In case you were wondering if your car has event data recorder (EDR), you can click this sentence and browse the PDF supplied by Harris Technical Services. That's the most recent and up to date source I could find - leave a comment if you've found something more accurate, I'll happily replace it.

Over all I think the most important thing to realize here, aside from privacy being about as real as Dragons these days, is that sometimes big brother does something good.  EDR's exist not only for insurance purposes, but because the information acquired just before an accident is invaluable to the engineers that are responsible for making your car as safe as possible.  Understanding that the brakes were applied, and subsequently failed under the strain is important - and because that information was acquired via the EDR those brake can be examined post-crash and potentially altered in either a recall or future versions.  Those changes and that insight might save someone's life and prevent another crash.

Friday, December 7, 2012

I Need Something New

I've been desperately trying to get back into some older games.  And aside from finding the same problems I experienced when I tried Everquest 2 (EQ2) again last month, I'm running into yet another disheartening condition - I've already done this shit before.

I was really into PlanetSide 2 last week, until I sat up straight in my office chair and wondered out loud "Why am I playing this game, I have played games just like it dozens of times before.  This is old, and boring, and I think I'm done here."

Multiplayer first-person shooters have been done to death and back.  Then they were resurrected, killed again, burned, and had their ashes scattered all over the digital landscape.  Yet people still flock to them.  I'm just as guilty as everyone in that regard - except I'm starting to come around.  I enjoyed the campaign of the most recent Call of Duty game (Black Ops. 2) and then promptly turned around and sold it on Amazon.  Not because it's a good game, but because it was a good game back in 2008 and I've already played it for hundreds of hours.

Oh, what's that?  You changed some perks?  I can customize my character with slightly different options now?  Wait, what?  The entirety of my gaming experience relies on my ability to aim and shoot any weapon, regardless of the other choices I made?  Cool story bro.  Been there, done that.  Needless to say, it's unlikely I'll be buying the next one.

Halo 4's very much in the same category as COD, but it holds a certain nostalgia.  I've played the Halo campaign's with friends dozens of times.  It's always a riot and there's seldom a better way to kill time at 3AM when you and your friends are bored.  Truthfully, I've never played a COD campaign more than once, even the original Black Ops., which I said had the best cut scenes of any game I've playedI liked the story that much. And only played it once.

FPS titles aren't the only one's copying the same format over and over and over again.  MMORPG's are just as bad - if not worse.  I'm so sick and tired of games that have the same gear-treadmill end-game raiding nonsense as the only thing to do at max level.  Gear should not be the only way I can improve my character once I reach the level cap - Everquest 1 figured this out over a decade ago.  Check out their alternate abilities options for higher level characters.  NO OTHER GAME that isn't a ghost town has that level of customization available in the end game.

But perhaps that says something.  While EQ1 has been around a long time, its mostly a place where older players return only to raid new content.  There hasn't been much of an influx of new players from their free to play options (there's been some, no doubt), but its a far cry from its glory days - and a damn frustrating game for new players to hop in and learn.  Not to mention that every single online resource available for the game is outdated by years

So the popular games remain the same ability/cooldown based equipment grind garbage that we've all been inundated with since the turn of the century.  Hooray.  Or perhaps they're just the less-buggy ones copying World of Warcraft?  The world (of Warcraft?) may never know.

I for one am ready for something different.  No more end-game gear grinds.  No max level in a week quit the game 2 days later nonsense.  I don't mind paying a subscription, nor do I mind playing the game for free and occasionally purchasing cosmetic/convenience items.  I don't even mind paying to win - if you want to blow $200 on a game, that's your problem - not mine.

I'm just dying for something that's fresh.  Is that too much to ask?