I’m struggling with the EA model of “Games as service” as I play through (and largely enjoy) my time in Battlefield V. I know that sounds confusing and bear with me as I try to explain.
Instead of DLC packs BFV went for periodic events, that last a determined amount of time (and that reward many different things). Currently we are doing one that has two sets of rewards – one set for the weekly accomplishments, and 40 XP levels for the over-arching rewards.
It’s simple enough and most branches give you good options so you aren’t stuck on a single path. And for bonus points, you can complete all paths. Each path step can only start to unlock once you completed the one before. For example, the first above is to play Breakthrough – a game mode – three times. This does focus the community and anyone can do this step (win or lose)
Each of the weeks (4, in this case) give bonus XP for the specific ‘chapter’ of the game, and the XP levels raise in difficulty to obtain. So this is the new system.
The downside is obvious. If you miss a week of gameplay, you can’t unlock anything from the week. EA claims that you will be able to get these in the future in other ways without specifying that “other ways” probably means in the cosmetic pay-for store.
I haven’t even hit max level in the game after 100 hours of gameplay, and the chances of me hitting level 40 for a chapter is remote. Mostly because this kind of achievement based gaming makes me play less, not more.
That may not make sense to you but I now only play when I have easy to reach objectives. Last week, I unlocked everything I could in two gameplay sessions. Since there was nothing left to unlock (outside of a long, chapter level grind), I stopped playing. The new week launched and now I am playing again. I know once I finish off the rewards for the week I will be done again (until next week).
I can see how hardcore players might love this and it IS holding my attention for the quick and easy hits, but I’m not sure if it holds my attention at all when I have to juggle other games that will be doing this (Anthem, looking at you.)
Curious how these gameplay levers and buttons to push influence your gameplay? Do they at all?
- Posts: 3 (Really? Just 3?)
- Games: Magic The Gathering: Arena
- Other Media:
October was my second lightest posting month and 3 in a month (along with the couple 5s I had earlier in the year) shows my inability to post consistently. Blogging is one of those things I love when I feel like I have something to talk about but struggle with when not – I would be a terrible place if I needed to have dependable, episodic content. October was about blahs and a general post, followed by a rentry into MTGA after the wipe (which I dreaded), and then an inspired post about an old gaming friend who I lost touch with – we were quite close, and he was suicidal near the end, and when we lost touch I worried about him. I still do from time to time.
In October 2017 I was playing Destiny 2 and Warframe
- Posts: 7
- Games: Perfect World, Torchlight Frontiers, Breach, Magic The Gathering: Arena, Battlefield V, World of Warcraft, Fallout 76
- Other Media:
In November I cleared out what was at the time, my last batch of Spring Cleaning blog posts drafts. It was a fun exercise. Checking recently, seems as though I may have another batch to do in 2019. We shall see. I had an Alpha based post on the 4-5 I was in at the time, as well as a great laugh at the bloopers from the Fallout 76 terrible launch (and the game continues to plague them, from what I am reading. I started playing (and being excited about) Battlefield 5(V) which I am still playing and being excited about. New free content update drops this week. I , along with many, many others groaned about the general boringness of Blizzcon this year.
In November 2017 I was playing Warframe
- Posts: 1 (FML)
- Games: Slay the Spire
- Other Media:
To be fair I had 3 weeks of vacation planned in December and that included a spill over into the first week of January – and two separate countries on two trips. Still, I didn’t put the effort in. My game of the year was Slay the Spire which my game of the year post neglected to mention (outside of the gameplay and screenshots). Never a dull moment here at IHASPC
In December 2017 I was playing EQ2, DDO, Warframe
Overall, not a bad year here statistics wise although I fell short of my 6 posts per month that I’d like to stick to. Good news is, heading into 2019 I have a lot to write about already and I only have two fears heading into February. The first is that with the upcoming Anthem launch IHASPC will become an Anthem blog for the foreseeable future. My other, bigger fear is that it will not – and Bioware will fade as my favorite gaming company.
Once again, thank you for reading, and here is to a happy, gaming filled, healthy, satisfying 2019!
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As a Side note, WordPress has changed their base editor and the main thing I hate is that there isn’t a full justification option. And it is built on building blocks of things. Change is hard when you are used to something but sticking to it! It also seems to have changed my font which doesn’t make me happy. Ah well, will work through it.
- Post Count 5
- Games: Magic The Gathering Arena, The Show 2018, Starbound, Slay the Spire
- Other Media / Non Digital Games: N/A
April was a very light posting month for me and most of it was spent in MTG:A. The posts were heavily about the learning and luck curve in MTG:A and how I felt like I was finally getting to a place and a deck where I could win consistently. I am still playing that game frequently but will save those updates for a non-review post.
Comparing April 2017 I was playing Andromeda and Hearthstone.
- Post Count 5
- Games: Battlefield 1, Magic The Gathering Arena, Everquest 2, Lord of The Rings Online
- Other Media / Non Digital Games: Origin
May, another light posting month, saw me revisit Battlefield 1 to help me decide if I was going to adventure in the newly announced Battlefield V, and signing up for the Origin service. I revisited Beta Fatigue – a theme I have posted about before where I burn myself out on games in Beta and can’t be bothered to replay from scratch when the “live” game launches. MTG:A was nearing a reset. I jumped back into EQ2 to get a free 100 (only to not play him/her) and started levelling my dream class – the Warden – in LOTRO. Finally. And lastly, I got ranty about how everyone wants everything free and without a modicum of effort in F2P games, while I felt the pace was ridiculously generous in MTG:A – an opinion not many shared.
Comparing May 2017 I was playing Destiny, Paladins, Overwatch, Guildwars 2, The Division. Clearly May is a “play lots of things you don’t stick with” month.
- Post Count 7
- Games: World of Warcraft, Magic The Gathering Arena, Battlefield 1, Destiny 2
- Other Media / Non Digital Games: Steam, Twitter
June saw me rush back to get my bear form before it was gone – there was a limited release on the artifact skins and the clock was ticking. MTGA launched a new card expansion and much like Hearthstone, I had to change my decks and my approach because it was kicking my ass. Steam had an easy way to see how much you have spent there – forever – so I started showing mine (hoping you would show yours). Most of you did. I complained a bit that unlocking perks in Battlefield 1 required me to play contrary to how I prefer to play (which isn’t always a bad thing) and even encourage me to do things to not help my team win (which is always a bad thing) yet there I was, doing it anyway. Battlefield V has some of the same issues, except worse – they time gate it forcing you to do things contrary to the benefit of your team more deliberately and often. Twitter Snitch Tagging is a thing and I once again wonder why I bother with the site (probably will delete soon, because in 2030 the word “Thank you” will be associated with hyper privilege-ism and using it – although fine for the current time, would mean I lose my job and life in 2030 for my past politeness. Why take the chance. I got angry with Destiny 2 (again, and continue to be so – unfairly, mind you) and another ranty-ish post about people maximizing their ladder climbs in MTGA by quitting the second they think they may not win (so they can more quickly lose, meaning they can more quickly go into a game where they may win). Me? I hang around to the end and some of my best moments were coming back from a game I didn’t think I could win. I love it.
Comparing June 2017 I was playing Paladins and Injustice 2
This series is when I get a bunch of draft posts left in the background and I feel compelled to clean them out. And by clean them out, I mean talk about what my point was when I was thinking of writing it, whether or not it’s worth continuing the thought (or not) and why, and the delete it, complete it, or leave it on the back-burner for a future date. So far in the series I have only parked one post to redo in the future and I actually want to adopt it as a pet project. But that is a post for another day.
Mad Money (12-9-2016)
I have a love / hate fascination with WoW tokens and this post was the beginnings of exploring that. Here is the snippet, which is kind of funny:
I continue to have an odd fascination with the WoW token. I understand true markets and how market forces work but continued to be confused and curious with The WoW token itself. I can’t understand what is driving the price changes. I even have a Token price tracker on my phone. Here is the history of the WoW Token by all time price.
You can see a slow climb from 20,000 gold to near highs of 60,000 currently. The dips are also particularly fascinating – prices rose steadily until Legion launch and then dropped to a new low
The funny part is the WoW token is currently at 130,000 gold(ish) down from a high of 241,000 earlier in the year. The reason why I struggle with the token in general is that because it is not regulated, there is no impetus on Blizzard to bow to true market demand / forces. They can unilaterally set the price at whatever they want, and can just create supply from thin air as need be – so I am extremely sceptical of the validity of the price and how player choice and decision can impact that. Due to the fact they have monetary value, am I incorrect? Do they have to stick to a standards as set out by the Stock market in the USA? Is there a resource on this so I can take off my tin hat and see there is some legitimacy to it? Of course, due to the date and the prices I was talking about I am going to let this post plunge like the DOW and NASDAQ will do in 2019.
Stop Me if You Think (9-6-2017)
I had to add this one, for the irony of the post title. That was it. I think I was going to do a play on a Morrissey song, but there was no finish to the sentence, no text placeholders, nothing. And just reading that is probably a good test for me. Just stop me if you think. Period. Which means I should stop, right? Melancholy-ing destroying this post as I ponder my place in the Blogosphere
Warframe – 20 Hour Impressions (10-17-2017)
I used to put a lot more text and base thoughts into my drafts to save for later and all I had included in this one was:
Codex is hidden behind scanning, of which I can’t figure out how to use on my PC – even when googling and checking out
I loved the idea of the Codex in the game but was having a really hard time sorting through how to scan properly. Until I found the right article, and I ended up getting a gadget that I could load up 200 scans into it and it would Auto scan as I fought. The only downside to this was that sometimes I would kill things too fast before it could scan, and sometimes it would run out of scan-ability that I would have to reload at the end of the mission. Warframe was a game I put a LOT of time into and loved a lot of things about it. Will be curious if Anthem can take it’s place for me. The learning curve was (is) steep and in pauses between other games I have played I did try to foray back – and hit a few roadblocks. Sad part is that I almost have completely forgot everything about what to do and where to go, and since that mountain is so hard to climb it is extremely challenging to even think about getting back into it. They just launched another expansion which makes me feel even further behind (I didn’t even GET to the last expansion planet). I still cheer for this title due to the happy balance of micro-transactions it has – its the darling of the industry for that right now. Killed, like my desire to reboot this game
Ostrich Burgers : Destiny 2 (10-25-2017)
Continuing my poor draft post design this was another little title that I think I know the idea behind the title, albeit completely misguided. And little text to support it.
The Destiny 2 PC Launch happened and the internet is breaking. Not because of how awesome the game is, but because apparently many people are getting banned, permanently, for “no apparent reason”.
This post was subsequently solved to the tune of not admitting what was doing it but I always wish that companies would call out the people who do lie on these. There have been some cases in the past where devs have done just that, and showing who is banned and why is a great step to be transparent with the community and to also build a support network around the company for when they do ban. Everyone likes bans, except the person being banned. And, I am one of those people what would err on the side of the ban being more likely to give a false positive (with a system to correct and identify quickly) than to have a system that is too lax and lets cheaters through the gates. Recently in a Battlefield 5 game there was a guy clearly using a wallhack glitch as he was 76-0 before people found out that he was shooting through walls in a very safe place. Destiny 2 is still the only game I want to play that I can’t due to how terrible the premise/story is that it is on principal now. Banning this post, and telling the world.
(no title) (10-28-2017)
I was still playing Warframe, and this was the text I had written:
Hattip to the Warframe Reddit:
Not sure if I need to say much else.
I still don’t. Meta-critic is broken as a place for people to review bomb. It’s too bad we don’t have a place to decide on whether or not to take a chance on a game… it’s the opposite of Flixster in many ways – which seems to work – as fun and blockbustery movies often get panned by the critics but fawned over by the public – and I always trust the user rating on those ones. For some reason gamers are unable to divorce a game from the social issues they may or may not feel is represented / not represented (blah blah blah). Judge a game by the game, enough already. I think I did a post about this already, so giving this post a 0/10 for it’s SJW stance.
Show and Tell : Limbo (12-05-2017)
One of the really fun things about Warframe is that your main character can control so many different kinds of Warframes that it is a very “alt-friendly” game. Since I was really enjoying the game I started doing a Show and Tell series about my favourite frames. Here is what I wrote about Limbo.
Limbo is the gentleman Warframe. It has to be true, because, well, a top hat! From my understanding he is also the only Warframe that has interchangeable hats as an option. You do need to look good while you kill, right? Limbo is a quest frame – you get him by completing a quest chain (but still need to build). I had a very strange run with Limbo leveling him – I went from complete confusion, to mild frustration, to a degree of joy in sorting through his playstyle and abilities. He is definitely Warframe that proves Digital Extremes is not afraid to try new and interesting things with their mechanics. Those mechanics, however, make gameplay a very intriguing option with overall frustration for non-grouped players – or players unfamiliar with the mechanics.
Here is his reveal video, to high level the concept before I go into greater depth.
The Rift mechanic is fun. Hitting a single key can remove myself from danger – but I am still visible. This means that when I am in the rift enemies see me, and try to attack me, but they can’t hurt me. Limbo’s abilities push and pull friends and enemies into the rift (against their will) and that is where frustrating play can happen. Oh, you just unleashed your super damaging ability on the big bad boss? Sorry – I just banished them to the Rift so that damage is wasted. But here, let me put YOU into the rift with me and we can now 2v1 him since we can ignore all other enemies.
I didn’t finish the post, or the series, but I still really loved playing his interesting Rift mechanic when I was a player. I’ll let this one rest as is as well.
That cleans out any and all drafts I had from prior to 2018 – and as with my other posts on the subjects, it feels great to have it all cleaned up and can face 2019 with only 2018 drafts to fix. Which will come at a later date. Isn’t there some saying… cleanliness is next to bloginess? Something like that?
I spent my weekend playing games I can’t share impressions on for the most part. And while people know I am in certain ones, because I announced it, I can safely group them all into “looking forward to what they do next” territory without mentioning specific features, feelings or thoughts. Wish I could share more but I do respect the alpha process.
I had a schizophrenic weekend and week of gaming. Nothing jumped out at me per se as a “must write about” but many little things. So here you get another general post hitting many topics, in particular order of importance or magnitude.
Magic: The Gathering
I am still playing this daily but due to the card rotations I have lost the core of my new favourite decks. And it is completely confusing, because they retired cards that were released in 2017. I know it is a sprawling game but the solutions I had to counter the decks I faced often were taken away, but the decks I face often were not. It is confusing to have cards that have been around from the start of beta but whole sections and subsets of cards added and removed afterwards. It makes no sense to me. The ones I miss the most are Prowling Serpopods – the only real defence against a control deck when you play green – and even then it’s a crap shoot to be able to use and utilize it – and the Walking Ballista. In fact, due to card retirements, I basically lost my favorite deck to play at all. That is frustrating as a collector. I don’t think other card games take cards away, but willing to adjust. Just goes to show MTG:A really, really needs a wildcard mode where all cards can be in play.
This fact alone makes the game less fun for me. I haven’t checked out of it yet, but am just sad and disappointed that I can’t enjoy it as much.
Secret Alpha Update
I can’t say anything here except there was an update to the Alpha. And with that update came a character wipe. Once again, I am reminded of the downsides of Alphas and how there is a correlation to the amount of time I spend in an Alpha and the diminishing likelihood that I pay for and play the game when it goes live. Where once I was a “great” alpha tester trying to break things, I am now also ensuring I am enjoying my limited gaming time. So the dozens of hours played are gone, and I get to do it all over again. If I decide to. I did take the first steps, made a character, and sat there hovering over the play button wondering if doing that was how I wanted to spend my time. It wasn’t, it turns out, but I think it was just the mood I was in with the first realization that all of the things I had done and prepped for for next steps was now gone, and back to square one. Not that I was surprised, just not ready for it.
No So Secret Alpha Update (Torchlight Frontiers)
I am still pretty sure we can’t share information on this yet – definitely not videos or pictures – but I played the heck out of it on the weekend and it was fun to see the stresses put on servers, and the parts of the development processes (patches quickly, etc.) to fix any issues and move forward, and find more issues. Being mindful of not sharing impressions of the game but to share that the development process part of being fun in itself. This is definitely one I will jump in on future tests and in the end when I CAN share things, will try to draw a line from where it started to where it launched. Will be interesting, to say the list.
Alpha I keep Missing (Breach)
It is patched and ready to go but the windows for participating have been so small – a couple hours here and there, sometimes during business hours – makes me think that this game must be in a real early Alpha state. Still, I check out announcements when I can and looking forward to playing this one too.
While many parts of this game has taken it back to its roots, I still struggle that the pace is a little too much COD for me. There are way too many times that you die too fast without a chance to react or impact the outcome of that death. That is frustrating. I don’t remember it in the old 2142 days. Seems like there is a lack of ability to control your own destiny – which may reflect the realities of World War 2 but less fun in gaming. Snipers (Recon) are a bit overpowered right now and Medics very under powered – balance patches are needed and they are coming ™, but even that won’t balance out the high tempo nature of the game that detracts from a strategic experience (vs a twitchy experience). I have almost fully unlocked the Medic tree and my Sten (primary weapon) but also dabble daily in the other classes as the daily “assignments” suggest. (There are objectives each day that reward in game currency that require everything from flying planes, to resupplying teammates. They are quick and easy but force you to try different things so I am appreciative.) I still think less “busy work” is needed in all games, but this is the new reality. I am still enjoying it and new game modes come December 6th. This game will continue to compete for my time and attention. I did, however, re-download Squad to balance a more strategic shooter against the ADHD one.
World of Warcraft
Odd how when you stop the daily chores and familiarity of the routine, you don’t really miss it. Uninstalled to buy room on my hard drive (before buying the new one, see below). Will take something big to pry me away from all the more-fun gaming going on right now.
New SSD External Drive
Black Friday sale I got a 1TB SSD external so I have more room to keep all of my games patched up and ready to go. This will make my hop in and out gaming mood and style lately even more varied. Although I am going away this weekend, so that means little to no gaming for me. I am having constant and consistent DISK WRITE ERRORS to it on Steam and it randomly will open up the drive folder on top of what I am doing – I think there is either an issue with the drive or an issue with my Thunderbolt port. I need to return it. Having to restart 12GB downloads every 2-3 minutes is not efficient. It is a Sony t5, anyone else used to having errors with it? Google has been unhelpful.
Another week in the books, and another weekend coming up – sadly out of town so little to no gaming, and next week is a bit of a writeoff as well. I can’t believe winter is here already.
A problem I am having with blogging and Battlefield 5 is that I play at my home laptop, and take pictures there, and then blog at work I need to change the default screenshot folder to one of my OneDrive folders so it syncs across platforms. So until then I don’t have more BF:V pictures. This will be a soulless (sans picture) post about my 5 (V?) favourite things about Battlefield 5 (so far). And since WordPress will not let me do a reverse order bullet point, we will not have a ranking, just five random things.
- (I) Squad Play is enhanced. You actually NEED all four classes, and running off on your own without them is detrimental to your game.
- (II) Scarcity of resources. It doesn’t actually feel that way when you play proper in a squad, but building off of the first point – you will run out of bullets if you don’t have a Support Class near by. You do NOT regenerate health passively – so you need a Medic nearby to regain any health. In Battlefield 1, anyone could spot and you spent rounds aiming at red circles (Because you couldn’t see people in the distance, but because they were ‘spot’ted, you were shooting at colour indicators near where people were). Only the Recon class can spot, and only with their spotting tool. It has made the game so much better to be interdependent on each other.
- (III) Dying animations. If you listen and experience it, it is actually awesome. Left click cries out for help. When you are an Axis soldier it’s hard to understand, but last night as I lied there as an Allied soldier, bleeding out I hit and held left button and my bloody hand outreached, struggling for help, and I screamed “I’m fucking dying here, please, someone help, please!”. The desperation in the voice actually made an impact that hey, this is actual war. These are lives.
- (IV) War Stories. There is not a real, single player campaign here but instead they are telling lesser known stories. The first one is about the British SBS – the Special Boat Service. I didn’t know this existed historically. How accurate it is, I don’t know, but the story mentions that soldiers weren’t put into the SBS but instead people who “got things done”. And you take on the role of an inmate, who is good at blowing things up, as you are recruited to do guerrilla warfare along the coast in canoes in small, non-unformed outfits.
- (V) Destructible / Build-able environments. Buildings you are in can blow up from tank and gunfire. And you can build them back up. We took over a small town in Conquest that was basically a barn with blown out windows, and I spent 10 minutes building sandbag walls, razorwire, boarding up the windows for protection from snipers, anti tank hedgehogs, etc. The entire area I was able to protect both of the flanks and prepare it to be attacked. It was a complete renovation. I wish I had pictures. I did find a video!
It’s amazing. A game changer.
Anyway – I still have way more to discuss about this game, but it is my early favourite iteration of the franchise. And it’s not even released to the general gaming community yet!
I am now a PC game service enabler. There needs to be a better term. I had become an annual Origin Pass member, which gives you access to 150 EA games (plus early access to new titles on a trial basis) for the grand price of $29.99. They now added a service – Origin Premier – which gives you access to all of their NEW Games (and old) including all pre-order bonuses, MTX benefits, etc. It was $129.99 Canadian. I did the math and with Battlefield V coming out (it IS out for Premier subscribers) and Anthem later in the year (Premier get early access and beta access as well) I figured I’d pre-buy the year long access for less than the cost of two games. I now have another 154 titles I could mess with if I wanted to. It’s a very good deal for me, knowing that I would have bought both anyway. Now I get a full year of access to all games they have – and that includes some I used to play but can’t bother buying these days (Madden Football, FIFA, etc.) So I can dip in and out as I wish. It’s good value.
I spent 3 or so hours playing Battlefield V, the new, WW2 inspired shooter and my first impression is this. It is gorgeous. I couldn’t hit screenshot fast enough during the introduction that gives you short stints of all parts of the game – infantry, tank, plane battles, all through a well narrated but light story about war and many country backdrops throughout. The game also really tugs on the heart strings. Instead of hardy, veteran soldiers the presented them as what many of them were – kids, thrust into battle via conscription or a sense of country and the innocence is lost quickly – along with many lives. I am looking forward to playing more.
The gun play and gameplay is amazing. It brings me back to the old Battlefield days. It’s still a bit too fast paced to be a full strategic shooter but it did slow the game down enough to be less bunny-hopping and un-immersive like the COD titles I stopped buying years ago. The maps are awesome, progression is on multiple layers and quick enough to feel fun and meaningful (early on, at least). The customisation is fitting and fun to play with from weapon skins to various clothing parts. It should be a hit. I know it is getting some negative Metacritic scores because they DARED to put a woman soldier on the primary loading screen, but that is the new normal in the PC world we live in.
Here are some shots. I’ll be covering more of this – the gameplay, the depth, the maps – in the coming days and weeks. The gallery below are parts of the opening sequence and while they will not fully capture the experience of it all – the sounds and movement are missing, of course, it does capture a lot of the beauty of the game.
Enjoy the gallery! If you have any questions about the game, send them my way. Happy to answer!
Click on any picture to open the gallery. It is not the full sequence, so reading any of the text may not match up with the text from the prior picture!
I have been sticking with Battlefield 1 since it is included in my annual pass for Origin. Entering an “old” game is hard as you are around a lot of players who have been playing a long time. Games like Battlefield 1 have perks and benefits for playing their games (as they should) that are not pay to win. But playing over time gives two benefits: first is knowing the maps really well, which gives a historical and practised advantage and the second is due to special skills you get by unlocking the game. Some of the requirements of which encouraged me to play counter to the needs and goals of my team. More specifically, trying to actually win.
I tend to play medics in shooter games (as I often play healers in MMOs) as it is usually underappreciated, underrepresented, and a very powerful way to play. When someone kills you in BF1 it shows you information about them – their rank, what dog tags they have, your K-D ration with them for the round, and what weapon – how they killed you. It also shows what “perks” they had equipped at the time. This is how I learned that perks even existed, and I decided to do some research on which fit my favoured role the best.
The perk I fell in love with is the Concealed Rescue specialisation. One thing I learned from Coppertopper in a previous BF1 post that you can “spot” a downed ally which lets them know you are coming to revive them – encouraging them to wait a bit longer and not release so fast. It also gives them a handy tracker to see how far away you are from them. Concealed Rescue automatically pops smoke on them to conceal they body so you can revive a bit safer.
Due to my experience in Project Reality and other, better paced shooter games using smoke and cover as a medic is key, and something I do quite often. Taking out that step (and the supply step of running out of smoke grenades) is a dream. An amazing dream. I want that!
The pathway to it wasn’t so bad. I had to unlock three different “getting started” service assignments. Since I was primarily playing medic I was fortunate that I unlocked this through normal play (which I wasn’t even aware of). And also, since I am often happy to hop into a tank or APC I almost had that one done too. The other three – Assault Kit, Recon Kit, and Support kit I had nothing in. Time to bear down.
Much made sense. Resupply 20 different teammates. Perform 10 Suppression assists. Etc. Except when I got to the last one, which I HAD to complete, which was “Kill 20 people with crossbow grenades”. Which is something I didn’t use at all. And it was the barrier for to move on. (Get 20 kills in a tank was easy and part of normal gameplay). The crossbow grenade is exactly what it sounds like and challenging to hit from distance. I tried to be mindful of using it when it made sense only and completing map objectives. In 10 hours I had 1 kill with it. This was not going as planned. So, I bore down, and started using it exclusively. It still took me a long time, but I would get 2-3 kills a round. I would usually end up doing horribly with 2-3 kills and 15-30 deaths. The more I died, or more I just missed kills (did good damage but not enough for the kill and a teammate would finish them off) the less and less I cared about how I was doing for my team and more and more I just wanted to get it done. And when I did, I was ecstatic!
Until the next unlock revealed itself (which it doesn’t unless you unlock the step before).
Good news is, as you advance you don’t need all of them but just 5 of 6. So I had some room here.
There were 4 sensible and 100% applicable ones to the medic class and playing as a medic. Revives. Heals. Kills with a specific medic gun. All things you would get in the normal gameplay of being a medic. And then two which sucked big time. The first is win a game of RUSH mode. Which, each time I has checked, has had zero servers using. So there is the 6/6 I would have to skip. And the next is get 20 kills with a specific handgun. I have everything else I can get but that, and in all of my rounds I had 3 hand gun kills. So I did a few rounds that I “wrote off” and just used the handgun. Doubled my kill count. Up to 6. I will have to spend a full night to get there, I think.
The grind is bad because it’s forcing me to act counter to my team’s best interest in the short term to better support my team in the long run. It’s bad game design. The thing I hate is that I know I have another bad one in the next step to finalize – getting kills with rifle grenades – which means, as a medic, I have to drop either my ability to heal or my ability to revive (that ability only fits in one of those slots). So in order to be a better medic I have to reduce my capability to be a medic.
Even after all of this complaining I am still trying to get there, because the reward is worth it. The hours of gaming to get there will be un-fun and a writeoff for me though – and that is frustrating. They should have built in tasks that required you to be a great medic, to get great medic rewards.
Hopefully Battlefield V remedies this.
EA recently announced the newest edition of their critically acclaimed first person shooter series, Battlefield, would be having it’s latest instalment launching in October. Weirdly named Battlefield V. I say weirdly named because they went from Battlefield 4, to Battlefield 1, to Battlefield V. They need to work on some consistency with the naming convention. Long time readers of this blog might recall how much I love(d) Battlefiled 2142. BF2142 was a PC only, up to 64 v 64 FPS with personal servers you could rent for your clan and select your own rules, map rotations, etc. It has an amazing combination of infantry and vehicular combat – at the same time, good personalization of kits, and was a great, semi-strategic shooter. I say “semi-strategic” as it did suffer from bunny hopping, etc. but had the potential for good teamwork and was a bit better paced than the Call of Duty titles at the time, which was it’s main competitor. This was also a title I played very frequently within a clan – funny how some of the best gaming memories are when you are a part of things with other people. I still connect with that clan and they are talking about the launch of Battlefield V, to which I replied that it might be worth checking out since I haven’t really played since 2142. Which launched in 2006.
The follow up to 2142 didn’t appeal to me – and it had a silly rule that you couldn’t go prone. That was one of those things that drove me batty. What, the human race has lost the ability to lie down on it’s stomach suddenly? Prone is a base position for cover, as well as a favourite for MG nests, snipers, (etc.). Taking away prone is like taking away jumping. I never could reconcile how I felt about that change to actually buy the game. I stuck with 2142 with each new release, and the servers became quieter and more quieter, and once again, I was left behind in a game I enjoyed playing while others moved on to bigger and shinier things. Why can’t we just be happy with what we have?
Instead of buying Battlefield one and all the DLC I opted for the annual Origin Pass – on sale for $30. That got me the entire expansion, as well as a huge vault list of EA games – many I have not played. If I do decide to buy Battlefield V I will also get 10% off my order for being an Origin member. I did this when I bought Andromeda as well because the price of the membership was offset by the purchase. Logging into Battlefield 1 it is clear how amazing the art and production values are. It put me into a single player campaign that hopped me around different stories of different soldiers – facing waves of enemies that I wasn’t supposed to outlive. It was a “fight until you die”, hopeless situation. I can’t imagine what it was like fighting back in the trenches during WW1 (which is the setting of BF:1) but I felt nervous, and hectic, and scared as I tried to survive the onslaught. Which didn’t last long, before putting me into a different body of a different soldier in a different setting – who would also not survive long.
When I ran out of bullets and was overwhelmed they would put up a name and a born / death date. Added a human element to it all. I had a struggle identifying friend / foe but with friendly fire off it didn’t really matter. BF1 did a great job of sucking me in quickly. To get a better feel for the game I continued down the single player path which is not built around one soldier, but revisits different war stories in different countries with different protagonists. The first I tried was about a tank crew, and I was the driver.
Seeing the war through a peephole didn’t capture the stress of the battle as much, but thethird person view was much better at doing so. I made it to step 4 of 5 before getting to a stealth style mission that I struggled with, and going full Rambo wasn’t really working for me either. Who cares, I am ready for multiplayer, which is where the game truly shines! I jumped into a Conquest match – which is a multi-point, capture the flags style of game. Each time gets tickets for kills and points captured (and held) and it is in true BF style where tanks support infantry and planes battle up above fighting each other (while dropping bombs on the ground). It truly is a spectacle, all those moving pieces and madness happening all at once, all around. And to be fair, the explosions are spectacular!
I did the safe thing I always do in these games – grab a medic profile, find a squad, and try to stay 10 steps back – watching flanks and reviving when it is safe. Except, only, it seems like it is NEVER safe. A few things I learned quickly (and disliked) was the fast rate of respawn. There was no real penalty to dying and you could force a respawn in 5 seconds for yourself. This is hugely unsatisfying when you kill someone (to know they are back in the mix pretty much instantly), but even moreso for a medic specialist. I can see on the screen someone who is revive-able. I clear out the enemies in the way. Throw a smoke grenade. Get to the body and – he force released. Heck, even the slow release is only 15 seconds. Once again the hyperactive ruins the immersion. How is a 30-45 second penalty for dying too much? You could kill someone, and they could kill you back in under 10 seconds (you can also spawn on your squad, not just rally points.) That part was very disappointing.
The different maps and countries are great, and the beauty of the game, the slick shooting, movement, vehicles, infantry and specialist kits – they are all ruined somewhat by the HURRY HURRY HURRY gameplay that used to be reserved for Call of Duty, but has now completely bled into the BF series. Maybe it happened several launches ago but I very fondly recall in BF2142 the benefits of sticking with your squad, and being able to protect objectives (and each other) with smart play, positioning, and teamwork.
No more. This game is just a huge spam and revive fest. The only strategy is that there is no strategy. Rush forward, die, revive, die, revive, die. Pretty packaging – actually, to rephrase – absolutely GORGEOUS packaging but not much depth.
I have gone back and tried a few more times and it’s “ok”. It is definitely not what I am looking for in a long term shooter. Yes, I am entering a game at the end of it’s cycle so against a lot of seasoned players but the core gameplay at the crux of it isn’t strategic enough to be fun for an old FPSer like me. I will still give it a whirl now and again as I haven’t written it off completely but I also downloaded SQUAD from steam last night – which is the spiritual successor to Project Reality, which was the ultimate strategic FPS experience. I’ll check that one out and let you know it goes.