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SEB Reviews: Call of Duty: Ghosts.

 Call of Duty: Ghosts Call of Duty: Ghosts
Published by: Activision
Developed by: Infinity Ward
Price: $39.99
Rating: 3 out of 5

This is my third attempt at writing a review for the latest in the Call of Duty franchise of games. I’ve decided that the usual format of describing the single player versus the multiplayer and the story and such is unnecessary. If you’re at all interested in a review of the game then you probably already have a good grasp on what it’s about and, if you don’t, there are plenty of other reviews out there that go the traditional route. Instead, I’m going to focus on the PC version and its pros and cons.

Here’s the short review that may be all 85% of you reading this would need to make a decision on: If you’re not a fan of CoD then there is absolutely nothing about Call of Duty: Ghosts that will in any way change your mind and if you are a fan of the series then chances are you’ve already bought it making a review unnecessary. For those of you on the fence, whether you should buy it depends on how much you’ve enjoyed the past games in the series and whether you think your PC is up to the challenge of running it.

The campaign mode continues the trend of shortening the amount of hours it’ll take to finish setting a new record of a scant 4 hours total; perhaps a little longer if you make a point of finding all the hidden briefcases scattered along the levels. The story is completely over the top and full of the sort of spectacle you’ve come to expect from the series. The multiplayer introduces a couple of new game modes, but otherwise feels like what you’d get if you took Modern Warfare 3 and both Black Ops I & II and smashed them together. The three different types of killstreaks (assault, support, specialist) from MW3 return combined with the ability to unlock perks/weapons/equipment/accessories using a form of currency (squad points) of BO 1 and a pseudo-Pick 10 class loadout system like what was in BO 2.  I’m a fan of the series and I find this new game, when it’s working properly, to be a lot of fun.

You’ll note the caveat I put in that last sentence. We’ll use that as the segue into the longer review.

It’s tough being a first person shooter fan on the PC these days and this is doubly so for Call of Duty fans. For me playing FPS games on a console is as close to sacrilege as you can get because the average console controller is no match for a good keyboard and mouse — part of why they don’t allow for cross-platform play between consoles and PC players — and yet consoles are where most FPS games make their money these days so that’s where a majority of the developer’s attention is focused. The PC versions of many FPS games end up being console ports with just the barest of tweaks to get it to work on the PC. It’s somewhat understandable when you consider that the consoles are easier to develop for as you know ahead of time what every Xbox/PS3/Xbox One/PS4 owner has in the way of hardware whereas the hardware in any given PC can vary wildly depending on the inclinations and fortunes of the individual gamer.

Call of Duty: Ghosts on the PC has some hefty minimum requirements: You must be running a 64 bit version of Win 7 or 8, have at least 4GB of RAM (down from a launch requirement of 6GB), a Intel Core 2 Duo E8200 2.66 GHZ or AMD Phenom X3 8750 2.4 GHZ or better processor, 40GB of HD space, and a NVIDIA GeForce GTS 450 or ATI Radeon HD 5870 or better, and a DirectX compatible sound card. The “recommended” specs are 8GB of RAM, Intel Core i5 – 680 3.6GHz processor, and a  NVIDIA GeForce GTX 760 4GB video card. My own system is up to par on the processor (AMD FX 4170 quad core at 4.21GHz) and RAM (8GB), but my video card is a little on the low end for this game (AMD Radeon 7770 with 1GB of RAM).

The thing is, it’s hard to tell what use all those resources are being put to. Supposedly this is a new engine (it’s not, it has the same base as all the others with lots of new bits bolted on) that should make it the best looking CoD game ever, but it’s really no better looking than BO 2 or MW3 and it performs a lot worse than either of those two games. The one really impressive innovation in Ghosts is that the sniper rifle scopes no longer black out the screen around the scope. Instead it shifts to a very fuzzy rendering of the environment making for a much more realistic effect when aiming down the sight. You’ve just enough visual information to see movement, but not be able to tell what it is until you get your scope over it. From what I’ve read, that’s a real technical feat engine-wise which is why in the past it was easier to just to black out the screen around the scope. If there’s anything else particularly innovative or impressive about this “new” engine, I’ve yet to see it as, other than the new scope effect, it looks pretty much like the past few CoD games when you crank up all the effects.

You'll note all of the "No" or "Off" settings on this screenshot of the Advance Video Options. This gives a tiny performance boost on my card. Click to embiggen.

You’ll note all of the “No” or “Off” settings on this screenshot of the Advance Video Options. This gives a tiny performance boost on my card. Click to embiggen.

Whether you can crank up all the effects will depend entirely on what make and model video card you own and having the best video card, or more than one, is no guarantee that the game will perform decently. This is probably the biggest issue I have with Ghosts. My video card is a mid-range model that’s almost two years old. Outside of Crysis 3 it can run most games I throw at it with all the effects cranked up. With Ghosts I’ve got most of the effects disabled or set to low because it offers a slight, and I do mean slight, performance boost. This doesn’t resolve the one major ongoing performance issue I have when playing the game. At the start of a level or the beginning of a multiplayer match there is often a period of about 15 to 25 seconds where the game will lag considerably. I’m talking a frame rate of around 5 to 10 FPS with the occasional pause of 2 to 3 seconds thrown in here and there. Once we get past that initial few seconds (often long enough for someone to kill me in a multiplayer match which is highly aggravating) the game will usually perform well enough to be playable. As near as I can tell from reading up on the issue the most likely reason for this is the fact that my video card only has 1GB of RAM on it. The weird thing is that it doesn’t appear that having a better video card is any guarantee of better performance. I know of folks who had nVidia Titans — arguably the best video card available at a cool $1,000 a pop — that suffered from the same start of the round lag issues I’m having. One guy I play multiplayer with has a system that exceeds all of the recommended specs for the game and he has constant lag throughout multiplayer that is so bad as to make the game nearly unplayable. Having multiple video cards in SLI or Crossfire configurations is actually not recommended as the game has not been optimized for it and will suffer from major microstuttering. One fellow I play with who has an SLI setup tried it and reported that it caused the trees in the game to flash as well as parts of his weapon. Another guy I played a lot of multiplayer with under previous CoD games won’t play Ghosts because it will not support multi-monitor setups. He has a very high end system with three monitors and just about every other FPS game he plays will spread the image over all three monitors, but not Ghosts. Attempts to contact anyone at Infinity Ward and Activision to inquire as to why have gone unanswered. Lastly it appears that the game’s frame rate is capped at 60FPS. If you have a setup capable of rendering at a higher frame rate that’s just too fucking bad.

Compare Ghosts' audio options to Black Ops II. Notice a difference? Click to embiggen.

Compare Ghosts’ audio options to Black Ops II. Notice a difference? Click to embiggen.

Then there’s a lot of options players have come to expect that are simply missing from the game. You’ll note in the screenshot to the above right that Field of View, which is quite common on most FPS games, is absent from Ghosts. You can use a third-party program to force it to modify the FoV, but that might get your account banned. No one seems to know for sure.

The Audio Options section is even more ridiculous as you can see in the screenshot to the left. There’s just a single slider for Volume. You have to wonder why they would even bother as just about everyone will use the volume controls on their speakers/headsets to adjust overall volume.  Compare that to Treyarch’s Call of Duty: Black Ops II which had separate sliders for voice, music, sound effects, cod casters (a streaming option for eSports), and a master volume to boot. To be fair when BO2 was first released it also lacked a FoV option, but after fans asked for one they quickly added it in a patch not long after release. I’d be happy if Infinity Ward just put in multiple volume options like Treyarch did. I play multiplayer with a regular group of guys and I like to have the voice communication be the loudest setting so I can hear them talking. I like to turn the music way down so that I can still hear it, but not have it overwhelm the sound effects so I can still hear enemy footsteps. Your only option in Ghosts, much like Modern Warfare 3 before it, is to rename several of the sound files so the game can’t load them canceling out the music altogether. That’s just stupid.

Which brings me to the biggest problem with the game: Infinity Ward has stopped giving a shit about their fans who play on the PC. This has been becoming more apparent since the release of Modern Warfare 2. When I wrote the review for that game I opened by saying that I had a real love/hate relationship with it. In particular the decision to go with a peer-to-peer networking system rather than dedicated servers was a major problem as it opened the game to all manner of exploits and hacking and the quality of your online experience was dependent on how far away the people you were playing against were and whether or not you were the host of the game. The rise of DLC also brought about the end of player created maps. Want new maps? They’d sell them to you in 4 DLC packs after which you should buy the next iteration in the franchise if you wanted anything new. With each release since then PC fans have grown increasingly frustrated at how little support IW gave the PC version of their games. We were promised the ability to run dedicated servers in Modern Warfare 3 and they kinda kept that promise by providing a barebones option that removed the whole level up and ranking system of the peer-to-peer version of the game. They also hid the option by default — you literally had to turn on dedicated server browsing in the options — insuring that most players didn’t even realize there was a dedicated server option so the player population using them was ridiculously small. That pretty much meant that if you wanted to do multiplayer you were going to use the inferior P2P system whether you wanted to or not. For Ghosts there was a lot of promises made about dedicated servers for every platform — console and PC — giving fans hope that the days of the shitty P2P system were behind us.

As it turns out, that promise was only kind of true. You can imagine my surprise when during one match back when the game was first released the game suddenly paused with a “Host Migration” message indicating that a player that had just rage quit had been hosting the game and it was now trying to find the best connection out of the remaining players to make the new host. That’s the same shitty P2P system we hated in the previous two Modern Warfare games. If we were on a dedicated server we shouldn’t be seeing that message. When fans started to ask what the hell the deal was Infinity Ward took to Twitter to explain:

Just a reminder that we are using a hybrid system for Ghosts online play to deliver the best possible connection. So sometimes you might be on listen-servers and sometimes you might be on dedicated servers, depending on which offers the better connection. We’re making tweaks every day to improve the experience across all platforms, more updates to come. And yes, with today’s launch of Xbox One, there will be dedicated server support.

The problem, of course, is that there’s no way to tell whether you’re on a dedicated server or a P2P one other than by how laggy the game is playing. Which, considering that there are other sources of lag beyond just your network connection, it’s not easily discernable whether the lag is from being on a shitty P2P with someone in another country until the host rage quits and forces a host migration. There’s also no option in the game to only use dedicated servers which most PC players would probably take advantage of even if it meant longer wait times to find a game to join.

Ghosts was released on November 5th and I’m just getting around to posting my review on the last day of 2013. Part of the reason for that is that I wanted to give IW some time to fix some of the issues that were plaguing the game. There’s been at least six patches since launch, only two of which focused on improving game performance. There’s also been an updated video driver from AMD that helped improve performance on my system. The problem with start of the round lag in multiplayer has improved a bit since release having decreased in the amount of time it’s a problem (it could last up to 30 seconds back when the game first launched) and on some smaller maps it sometimes doesn’t happen at all, but more often than not it does happen. I’ve learned to live with it, but it’s very annoying. The fact that simply buying a better video card is no guarantee that performance will improve doesn’t speak well to IW’s commitment to PC players. Other players I game with report problems with lag throughout the game that will vary from match to match with no apparent rhyme or reason.  Some rounds are fine and others are laggy as hell. There doesn’t appear to be any indication from Infinity Ward that they plan to address the performance issues on the PC any further than they already have. Needless to say, the ongoing indifference of Infinity Ward has done much to deter PC fans from buying each new release that comes along which just gives IW more incentive to half-ass any PC version of their games in favor of consoles.

Which brings us to arguably the biggest problem Ghosts has on the PC: The lower player population compared to the consoles. It doesn’t matter how well the game performs if no one is playing it. At its all-time peak shortly after launch Ghosts had 36,922 players according to Steam Charts. A month later the peak was down to 14,923. The day before Christmas it was a mere 9,654. Christmas gave it a bump thanks to all the folks who found it under their tree that morning, but the highest it’s gotten since then was on the 29th with a peak of 17,290. That’s worldwide. Consider that the all-time PC peak tends to be less than the daily player counts on the Xbox and Playstation consoles. Ghosts is the 19th most played PC game on Steam with 9,148 people playing right now at 8:40AM in the morning. What’s 20th? Black Ops II with nearly the same player population, 8,469, at this moment as Ghosts. Hell, Modern Warfare 3 has almost as many players with 6,776 currently online as I type this.

Borderlands 2 – which was released in September of 2012 – has more people playing it right now (11,895) than Ghosts does. It probably helps that BL2 runs pretty fucking great on the PC and doesn’t have ridiculous system requirements and has been pretty heavily supported by Gearbox Software over the past year and some months. The current most played game on Steam? Dota 2 with over 491,070 playing it right this very moment. But that’s not a FPS and it’s technically free(ish) to play. What’s the top FPS? Currently it’s Left 4 Dead 2 followed immediately by Team Fortress 2 with 57,960 and 54,489 respectively putting them in the number 2 and 3 slots. Again to be fair TF2 is technically free(ish) to play and L4D2 was helped by a day of giving it away for free, but it’s not a stretch to say that IW’s shitty track record of support for their titles on PCs after CoD 4 has had an impact on the number of PC players buying it.

Here’s one last indicator of just how bad IW supports PC players: In Modern Warfare 3 there was a glitch that would affect kill streaks every so often during a match. Most commonly it would manifest as the inability to call in a care package. Your character would go through the animation, the signal grenade would drop to the ground, and then… nothing. The package wouldn’t come and trying to call it in again would just put you through the same animation with no results, but leaving you vulnerable to being attacked while doing it. You wouldn’t be able to call in the care package until after you died and respawned. Then it would work. With other killstreaks, like the body armor, it would do the same thing and play the animation, but not actually deploy. Over the year they released patches for the game they never bothered to fix that glitch. With Ghosts that very same glitch still exists, though it’s changed somewhat. You can only get care packages from completing field orders and those always work, but calling in a Satcom (Ghosts version of the UAVs) will sometimes not work on the first try and will leave you sitting there without a weapon until you hit the key to call it in again where you’ll go through the animation as though you were putting it away (you have the option of not deploying in Ghosts by hitting the key again) and then trying it again where it still may or may not work. Sometimes I’ve hard to try three or four times to get a stupid Satcom to deploy usually dieing in the process because I’m sitting there without a weapon. Body Armor will also sometimes just not deploy. This is a stupid glitch that I think goes back to MW2, but it’s been awhile since I last played that so my memory is a little foggy. It’s puts the lie to the idea that it’s an entirely new game engine. 

OK, I’ve focused almost entirely on the problems with Ghosts on the PC. I should try to say something positive about it and the best thing I can think to say is this: Despite all of the problems I mentioned above — and that’s not even everything wrong I could say about it — when the game works I enjoy the hell out of it. Since its release I’ve invested an embarrassing amount of time into it (I won’t say how much, but in my defense I have been on vacation) and have managed to prestige 5 times already. When I get a good connection and make it past that initial 15 seconds of video card lag and get into the zone it’s just as fun as every past title in the series. I like the fact that it takes some of the best things from MW3, BO1, and BO2 and puts them into one game. I like what little I’ve been able to play of the new game modes introduced even though too often there aren’t enough players in those modes to find a game to join. I like the fact that there is an in-game system for reporting the inevitable cheaters and hackers that you’ll come across. I am still a die hard fan of the series.

The ultimate question is: Should you buy Call of Duty: Ghosts? If you’re a fan and can’t stand playing FPS games on consoles then it’s probably worth your time in spite of the problems, but given IW’s shitty treatment of their property on the PC I wouldn’t blame you if you skipped it. That’s especially true if your system is far below the “recommended” specs. If you are a fan and don’t mind playing on consoles then a lot of the problems I describe above won’t apply and you should definitely pick it up. If you’re not a fan then, well, I already addressed non-fans back at the start. On the plus side, the PC version is already down to $40 on Amazon.com.

HTSGTS

My latest TV addiction: “How The States Got Their Shapes.”

I watch and read a lot of non-fiction. The Discovery Channels are frequently tuned in on my TV because they have so many shows that I love to watch. The History Channel, though, not so much. Mainly because whenever I flip by it it seems like it’s either A) something World War II related most of which I’ve seen already or B) one of the crap shows like Ancient Aliens which lot of these channels, including the Discovery ones, program for the idiots in the audience who buy into that nonsense.

Well, yesterday I flipped by the History Channel and fell into the lap of a marathon showing of How The States Got Their Shapes and I was hooked. Each show has a theme such as “Living on the Edge” and “Mouthing Off” which connects the stories they cover and it’s absolutely fascinating. As an example, to this day there is a dispute between Tennessee and Georgia over where their border happens to be. Here’s a small clip from the show that explains why:

In the episode “Mouthing Off” they don’t cover so much the shape of the States as they are, but as they would be if you were to base them on their regional accents. The first episode, themed “A River Runs Through It”, talks about how water and access to it has defined a number of States. I was surprised at just how much I learned watching this show, which apparently debuted back in the spring and I’m only just finding out about it and I’m hoping they’ll continue the series.

If you haven’t seen it yet, check it out when it repeats on the History Channel. If you’re anything like me you’ll enjoy it.

Doctor Who Banner

‘Doctor Who’ season 6 launches on April 23 on BBC America.

Get ready to program your DVRs. The new season of Doctor Who will hit BBC America on April 23rd and rumor has it that it’s the same day and date as the U.K. premier. No more waiting two weeks after the British airing? Yes please!

Doctor Who Banner

Here’s some more background on the premiere: “Doctor Who is coming to America in a spectacular two-part season premiere on BBC AMERICA. Part One premieres Saturday, April 23 at 9/8c. The mysterious time traveler, the Doctor (Matt Smith), and his companions Amy (Karen Gillan) and Rory (Arthur Darvill), find themselves on a secret summons that takes them on an adventure from the desert in Utah – right to the Oval Office in1969. More details will be revealed in the coming weeks about this two-parter penned by ‘Who supremo’ Steven Moffat (Sherlock) and featuring guest star Mark Sheppard (Supernatural, Battlestar Galactica). Also set to return this season, Alex Kingston (ER, Flash Forward), as the irrepressible River Song.”

via BBCAmerica – Anglophenia blog.

The Utah episode was actually filmed in Utah marking the first time an episode of DW has been filmed in the States. Yes, that’s even taking into account the American made TV movie as that was filmed in Vancouver, British Columbia. There were plans to film one of Colin Baker’s episodes in America — The Two Doctors — set in New Orleans which was rewritten for Spain when funding didn’t come through.

Alas, I’ll still be grabbing these episodes off the Intertubes as AT&T U-Verse doesn’t offer BBC America HD yet and I just can’t bring myself to watch it in standard definition.

Dumbledore comes to this year’s Doctor Who Christmas Special.

OK so that’s not entirely true. The character of Dumbledore won’t be coming to DW, but rather the actor who currently plays him: Michael Gambon. Additionally it sounds like this will be the most Christmas-y DW special of them all:

“Oh, we’re going for broke with this one. It’s all your favourite Christmas movies at once, in an hour, with monsters. And The Doctor. And a honeymoon. And… oh, you’ll see. I’ve honestly never been so excited about writing anything. I was laughing madly as I typed along to Christmas songs in April. My neighbours loved it so much they all moved away and set up a website demanding my execution. But I’m fairly sure they did it ironically.”

The Christmas special will feature one very big guest star: Dumbledore. That’s right: Michael Gambon will be guest starring in the Christmas special. “Michael Gambon is as distinguished an actor as I can imagine and the fact that he was Dumbledore means that he is already known to millions of children,” Moffat said. Classical singer Katherine Jenkins will also appear.

BBC exec Ben Stephenson has revealed that the episode will be based upon Charles Dickens’ novel A Christmas Carol, providing a “clever twist” on the story, as well as giving “Amy and the Doctor for an unforgettable present!”

I’m quite pleased with Matt Smith’s take on The Doctor and while this season had a few episodes that were a little “meh”, the finale was pretty damned impressive. I’m also, oddly enough, a big fan of A Christmas Carol so seeing a DW take on the story is something to look forward to.

“Tron Legacy” trailer hits the Net.

I am so excited for this movie. I was a huge fan of the original and have always held out hope that someday there would be a sequel. Don’t know how good it’ll be, but the trailer is very drool worthy:

Now there’s something to look forward to in December. Assuming I’m employed and have the spare cash to go to the movies.

“Bioshock 2″ following in “Modern Warfare 2′s” footsteps for multiplayer.

It looks like the folks at Infinity Ward may have started a trend among developers of first person shooters on the PC. Word now comes from a Q&A about Bioshock 2‘s multiplayer mode over at The Cult of Rapture that it will not have dedicated server support, LAN play, or the ability to kick troublemakers from the game:

Do you support LAN play on consoles or PC? Do you support dedicated servers?
Short answer, no and no. There is always a finite amount of time for the development of a game. Bringing Multiplayer to BioShock was a daunting task between the tech (there was no multiplayer support in the codebase from the first game) and the expectations of the community. Either you try to do everything and so nothing feels finished or you focus your efforts to do a smaller number of things really well like an accessible online experience. We chose to spend the time we had creating a solid game foundation and unfortunately that did not include LAN play or dedicated servers.

How does your matchmaking system work and how do you make sure there isn’t lag or bad match ups?
The matchmaking system takes a couple of things into account. We try to get you into a game as quickly as possible (since we know how much waiting really stinks), but match you up to people who are as close to your rank and skill as possible, with a certain amount of weighting to each factor, as well as requiring a low ping for those matched players.

How do you deal with people who grief or cheat or are otherwise not making a good ranked experience? Can you kick them?
Even though we are doing everything we can to try to find exploits in our own game, there will always be people who will find a way to grief a game. There is no kick option as we felt like it often leads to more unfair kicking than fair kicking. We hope that because there are a variety of player goals and a multitude of options for ranking up and killing, the player will always feel like he or she is gaining something in a match with mean people and griefers. If you do get matched up with one of those people, please report it, leave that game, and we’ll try to smooth out the online experience as best as we can.

It sounds more or less just like the multiplayer system in Modern Warfare 2 which a lot of fans, including myself, weren’t happy about. This is disappointing to say the least and I expect it’ll be plagued with similar problems as a result. No word on what ant-cheat system they’ll be using, MW2 uses Valve’s VAC system, and that could go a long way to determining how much of a problem cheaters end up being.

Back when I wrote my rant discouraging folks from buying the PC version of MW2 the number of people using aimbots/wallhacks was simply ridiculous and, combined with how long it takes a ban in VAC to be enforced, was making the multiplayer almost pointless. These days it’s settled down quite a bit and I can only assume that someone must be banning cheaters more often as it’s possible to go through a number of sessions with nary a cheater in sight, but the damage has been done and now legitimate players are accused of cheating simply for having a high kill/death ratio. It’s even happened to me and I’m hardly a great player.

I never bought the first Bioshock due to the ridiculously restrictive SecuROM DRM it had and it was looking like BS2 was going in a similar direction, but they recently announced they were scaling back the restrictions for BS2 at least somewhat:

There will be no SecuROM install limits for either the retail or digital editions of BioShock 2, and SecuROM will be used only to verify the game’s executable and check the date. Beyond that, we are only using standard Games for Windows Live non-SSA guidelines, which, per Microsoft, comes with 15 activations (after that, you can reset them with a call to Microsoft.)

What does that mean for your gameplay experience? This means that BioShock 2’s new DRM is now similar to many popular games you advised had better DRM through both digital and retail channels. Many of you have used Batman: Arkham Asylum as an example to me, which uses the exact same Games for Windows Live guidelines as us as well as SecuROM on retail discs, and now our SecuROM is less restrictive on Steam.

This is better than the first game, but still not fabulous. It was loose enough to make me consider buying the sequel along with perhaps the original – seeing as they’ve since dropped the DRM from the first game altogether – but the fact that they’re using a similar matchmaking system as MW2 has dropped my enthusiasm back down to zero.

The Washington Post wants to know your favorite webcomic of the past decade.

Webcomics are a topic near and dear to my heart. While they don’t show up in my sidebar blogroll that’s only because I have a whole separate list of webcomic links I keep in my Google Reader and it would make an already long sidebar list even longer.

The folks at the Washington Post are having a little unscientific poll asking folks to vote for their favorite webcomics and I thought you guys would like to know about it.

Last week, Comic Riffs put out the call by asking: What are your favorite webcomics of the past 10 years? Readers soon responded strongly and passionately (via comments and Facebook and Twitter), nominating hundreds of titles. (For the uninitiated and even for the true fan, it made for a healthy wealth of recommended reading.)

Many of the comics that made the cut were deadlocked — and among some of the worthy titles that just missed the cut were: “Anders Loves Maria”; “Cat and Girl”; “Goats”; “GPF”; “Templar, Arizona”; and “Wondermark” (that excellent exercise in “illustrated jocularity” that had ties to the print world, too, appearing until a coupla years ago in The Onion.).

Now, we’ve got the Big Ballot — and it’s time to vote for your faves as we all narrow this down to a handful of finalists. Balloting will close midnight Wednesday. (And if not all these strips fit your definition of a “webcomic,” feel free to sound off on that interminable kerfuffle, too — some obviously have seen the light of print at times.)

via Comic Riffs – THE BEST WEBCOMIC: It’s time to vote on your nominations….

Several of my favorites made the list: PVP, Penny Arcade, Sinfest, xkcd, and, surprisingly enough, Jesus and Mo. Another surprise was the fact that the amazing Wondermark did not make the cut. It was tough picking out my favorite, but I had to go with the one that got me started on reading webcomics, PVP, even though Scott Kurtz said he wanted PVP votes to go to Penny Arcade. If I could have voted for all my favorites I would have as those are the only ones I tend to read. The current front runner is one I’ve never read called Least That I Could Do and, while I hold no animosity towards said author, it is slightly worrisome that some of my favorites haven’t even gotten a percentage point in votes yet. Not that they have to win, mind you, but it would be nice if they had more than 0% of the vote.

So if you enjoy participating in pointless Internet polls that really don’t prove a damned thing then head on over and see if your favorite is on the list and then vote for it whatever it happens to be. You will have done your part in nothing of any consequence at all and can feel good knowing your small effort will result in the Washington post getting more traffic on a single entry than they probably have any right to get.