Hoeg Law First Impressions: Assassin’s Creed Odyssey

Yesterday, I finally got the chance to spend a few hours with Assassin’s Creed Odyssey (stayed up a bit late for the Cubs game…sorry cubbies).  Odyssey was one of my dark horse favorites coming out of E3 2018 after thoroughly enjoying its predecessor (Assassin’s Creed Origins) so this was a pretty exciting day.

After about 3 hours of play (that Cubs game would not end) here are just a few of my first impressions:

* If Assassin’s Creed Origins was “baby Witcher 3”, Assassin’s Creed Odyssey is “adolescent or teenage Witcher 3”.  Bulletin boards in towns, dialogue trees, choices with consequence (we are told), contextualized quest lines, and more means that at this point I wouldn’t be surprised if the next Assassin’s Creed takes place in medieval Poland…with monsters.  I have no problem with this.

* Speaking of the Witcher, the music of Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, featuring strumming guitars and heavy drum beats, is very, very reminiscent of that series.  I am not expert enough to compare the respective histories of Greek and Polish music to speak to Ubisoft’s intent here, but suffice it to say, you will be reminded of the Witcher at every level up (and quite often at other times throughout the game).

* Assassin’s Creed Odyssey offers a new first for the series: a choice between two characters.  After much consideration, I am playing though the game as Alexios.  Interestingly, I had intended to play through as Kassandra, but two things changed my mind: (i) I am currently playing through Shadow of the Tomb Raider and liked the juxtaposition, and (ii) after playing the first hour or so of the game with both characters, there is a…twinkle in the eye…of the Alexios performance that seemed absent in Kassandra’s.  At least in that first hour, Alexios comes off as a puckish rogue, while Kassandra comes off much more serious and straight-laced.  Neither is seemingly “better” than the other, but I liked the feeling of Alexios being “in over his head”.

* The story starts slowly, with no real inciting incident but more as “a day in the life of a Greek mercenary.”  There are indications, though, that this start is just the launching point for a real…odyssey.  Provided that is the case, I think the slow beginning (think The Hobbit) is well-considered and gives grounding to “where your character came from”.  We will see.

* Playing without a shield is interesting.  It certainly makes ranged enemies much more deadly.  I’m not sure I like it as much, but it definitely makes aggression more attractive as a defensive option than it was in Origins.  Time will tell.

* I am apparently much nerdier than even I usually give myself credit for, as I was immediately tickled to be playing in Ithaca and exploring Odysseus’ old stomping grounds.  Thanks high school literature class!

* Not sure if it will be added later (as it was for Origins) but the absence of Discovery Tour is noted.  In particular, my daughters love exploring Origins in that mode, going on tours and learning about ancient Egypt.  My oldest (8) was very excited about this release and got a chance to see a bit of it, but the violence in the “real” game is a bit much for her.

* Odyssey does add little “tool tip” historical information as you discover “historical sites”, but while the information is cool, it is hidden two menus deep on the map, and is often presented in a dry manner.  (Pedantically, it also doesn’t really distinguish between “history” and “myth” in a way I personally find a bit confusing.  This may wind up an issue with the game overall, of course.  I’ll let you know if I meet Zeus.)

* Finally, Nintendo and Mario should be thanked for helping teach folks (like me) how to spell the word odyssey for the past year.  It has helped tremendously in writing things like this post.

Overall, Assassin’s Creed Odyssey makes a tremendous first impression, and immediately thrusts you into a world worth exploring, with the feel of launching an epic adventure.  I can’t wait to see and do more, and will be very much looking forward to seeing all it has to offer.

Urban Rights or “Consultants Tell You What You Want to Hear”

About three weeks ago, Ohio State University (“OSU”) Head Football Coach Urban Meyer (“Coach Meyer”) released a statement in which he admitted to speaking “inaccurately” at Big Ten Media Days in July, but was otherwise a model citizen.

You can see my analysis of the positions Coach Meyer took in that statement, as well as his anticipated defenses strategies: HERE.

Last night, Coach Meyer and OSU executed on those defense strategies, taking the path I had suspected: that Coach Meyer was simply too confused by the questions and circumstances of Big Ten Media Days to answer truthfully, and that his actions there and in the past were imperfect, but reflect the (allegedly) muddy facts surrounding Coach Zach Smith (“Coach Smith”) and his wife Courtney.

But now comes the “independent” committee’s report, and given what it shows, it’s somewhat incredible that OSU elected on this path.  (Incredible only if your metric for credulity rests on something other than winning football games, of course.)

Let’s dive in.

Continue reading “Urban Rights or “Consultants Tell You What You Want to Hear””

Urban Flight – A Lawyer Reads Coach Meyer’s Apology Letter

Today, August 3, at the very tail end of the Friday news cycle, Ohio State University Head Football Coach Urban Meyer, embroiled in a domestic violence controversy that threatens to end his career (and which has already resulted in paid administrative leave), released a statement in which, among other things, he denies wrongdoing, asserts that he acted “appropriately”, and laments the sorrow he feels for “the toll the events of the past week have taken”.

While much remains unclear about Coach Meyer’s actions, the actions of his wide receivers coach Zach Smith, and what will result from Ohio State’s “independent” investigation, what is abundantly clear is that Meyer has taken this course of action under advise of counsel (and one expects, PR crisis management teams) in an effort to retain his job in our modern “zero tolerance” environment.

Since I happen to be a lawyer (and have crafted a crisis communication or two in my time), let’s dive in to what he’s decided to say at this time (on a Friday…after 4 PM).

Continue reading “Urban Flight – A Lawyer Reads Coach Meyer’s Apology Letter”

A Modest Proposal: Stating The Obvious

August 1, 2018 – Ex-ESPN employee Brett McMurphy reports (via Facebook) that Ohio State University Head Football Coach (and Bob Evans Head Breakfast Coach) Urban Meyer lied when he told reporters that he was unaware of domestic abuse allegations against his wide receivers coach, Zach Smith.

McMurphy uses extensive text messages, photos, and communications, including from Coach Meyer’s wife to the alleged victim, Ms. Smith, to establish his story over a period of almost a decade.

Coach Meyer has since been placed on administrative leave.

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Continue reading “A Modest Proposal: Stating The Obvious”

Busting the Block – How Avengers: Infinity War Changed the Game…for Everyone

While Rules of the Game is largely intended to reflect on the rules, regulations, and incentives that help influence our lives, occasionally something hits close enough to home that I feel compelled to write about it on this blog.  This is one of those times.

SPOILERS ABOUND

Check out the video here! – YouTube

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On October 29, 2014, Disney’s Marvel Studios announced Phase 3 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (“MCU”), the culmination of a decade-long effort to infuse 20+ major motion pictures with just enough connective tissue to plausibly bring them together in one universe-shaking, climatic, cross-over event.

Well, that event is here.  Avengers: Infinity War (“Infinity War“) has arrived.

40+ characters.

A dozen galaxy-spanning locations.

6 Infinity Stones.

1 damn triumph.

As the MCU has grown to dominate the box office, almost every other movie studio has at least feigned interest in starting their own “universe” of interlocking films and other materials.  But whether Warner BrothersUniversal, or others, none have come close to what Marvel has achieved, and after Infinity War, the bar has been set even higher.

How does Infinity War do what it does?  How does the MCU work so well when seemingly all others have faltered? And how does Infinity War successfully navigate the “impossible” task of serving as the climax of dozens of plots over almost 20 movies and half as many years?

How? Let’s dig in.

Continue reading “Busting the Block – How Avengers: Infinity War Changed the Game…for Everyone”

A Lawyer Reads…the Facebook Terms of Service and Data Policy (Part 3)

In the modern, digital world, each of us is asked to read and accept hundreds of pages of terms and conditions governing the way we use our products and services.  While no one could be expected to read every term (especially for entertainment or other “low risk” services), as a specialist in reading and drafting such documents, a lawyer can offer insight into just how they operate (and what rights the average user gives away when they sign on the dotted line). 

In “A Lawyer Reads…”, we’ll take a deeper dive into a few of those little-read contracts, terms, and conditions in an effort to provide just a bit of that insight. 

For more, check out www.hoeglaw.com or drop Rick a line at rhoeg@hoeglaw.com.

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Today we finish our reading of the Facebook Data Policy with discussions on data deletion, what happens when the law comes calling, Europe, and more.

Interested in how we got here?  Check out Part 1 and Part 2!

Continue reading “A Lawyer Reads…the Facebook Terms of Service and Data Policy (Part 3)”

A Lawyer Reads…the Facebook Terms of Service and Data Policy (Part 2)

In the modern, digital world, each of us is asked to read and accept hundreds of pages of terms and conditions governing the way we use our products and services.  While no one could be expected to read every term (especially for entertainment or other “low risk” services), as a specialist in reading and drafting such documents, a lawyer can offer insight into just how they operate (and what rights the average user gives away when they sign on the dotted line). 

In “A Lawyer Reads…”, we’ll take a deeper dive into a few of those little-read contracts, terms, and conditions in an effort to provide just a bit of that insight. 

For more information, check out www.hoeglaw.com or drop Rick a line at rhoeg@hoeglaw.com.

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Today we continue our reading of the Facebook Data Policy with some of the most important questions facing the company and its users:  “How does Facebook use your information?” and “How is your information shared?”.

Check out Part 1 HERE.

Continue reading “A Lawyer Reads…the Facebook Terms of Service and Data Policy (Part 2)”