PS4

Gaming Week #20

While it may seem like perfect sense I didn’t realize that for reporting purposes people actually use week numbers. Last week was week #20 for the year and it has been awhile since I have shared what I am playing and figured it was a good way to start the week off. Canada had a long weekend – Victoria Day Weekend (The May two-four weekend, as it is commonly called) celebrating the life of Queen Victoria. Canada does holidays well, and the date changes every year but it is always the Monday before the 25th day of May – this ensures the long weekend status. Two-Four is also Canadian slang for a case of beer, since there are 24 beer in a standard case here. It reminds me of the quote “Education is important but hockey is importanter”. Anyway, back to the topic at hand. Where have I been spending (and not spending) my gaming time?

MLB The Show 2015 : Majority of time, but nearing completion

Well, I played three weeks of this title before calling it ‘mostly complete’. Sure, the game goes on indefinitely but in my second season of “Road To The Show” I was promoted from relief pitcher to starting pitcher one third of the way into the season. I pitched well enough on my remaining 20ish starts to win both the NL MVP and the Cy Young award. Those were always my goals in the game. I am still with the Nationals, I bargained hard for a huge pay increase (MVP plus CY Young should be 25+ million a year (Scherzer gets 30M annual and he didn’t win both of those awards in a season..)) but the Nats had a 510k option on me. They did offer a 5 year, 10 million deal but when I said I wanted a 5 year, 100 million dollar deal (a bargain, I assure you) they scoffed, and used their option on me. So I am playing the season mad at my club, and there is no holdout option. I’ll have to play the season but thankfully I am an unrestricted free agent at the end of it so I can go to where I please. My goal there is to get to the American League so I don’t have to worry about hitting. Screw you, baseball purists. I was playing this nightly but with my major goals accomplished, I may pitch a game or two a week to see what kind of salary I can pull in year three but for the most part this game is no longer my focus. It was fun, and highly recommended if you love baseball.

The Secret World : Back in the saddle

With Baseball monopolizing my time I haven’t played much TSW but I did carve out some time this weekend. I am going through every quest in every zone to experience it fully. This is one of those games that if you don’t do that you might miss out on a gem. I am pretty much finished the Savage Coast and already have my main quest-line pointing me to Blue Mountain, but a few side quests remain that I want to finish before moving on. A small annoyance here – I wish the mini map changed the color of quest givers based on status, so it is easy to see what is doable. For example – white – never completed. Yellow, completed once, repeatable. Black, completed, not repeatable. I am currently putting a map marker on each as I complete them (with the label “done”) to mark off which ones I have finished. I haven’t been able to find a mod to do what I want =) I am still using Sword/Fist and still have over 100 AP and 40 SP. The story is amazing. I feel like I have so far to go just to catch up but this is definitely a game that is rewarding to stop and smell the roses along the way (they usually smell like corpses, unfortunately).

Dragon Age Inquisition : Abandoned

I really enjoyed the game at the beginning but it quickly became “chore”-ish the way the game was fleshed out. The main enemy, once revealed, didn’t really intrigue me. Once I cleared out all the quests and sub-quests and challenges and flag markers/camps in four or five “zones” it felt like that was all I was going to end up doing for another hundred hours or so. I found the combat boring, and the wall of text texts on areas and items made me curious enough to read, but feel like my gaming sessions were turning into failed Oprah Book Clubs. Furthermore, relationship management with my team was like pulling teeth. Travelling to each one just to see if they have anything interesting to say to make sure you don’t miss anything  became entire play sessions. You would think they would sit around a small camp nice and easy for you to approach, but no, they have to spread to the four corners of the camp just to kill more time. I am shocked they just don’t approach you when they have something to add to the game play. The other shocker to me is that in a single player game, I can’t change my class. I rolled sword and board tank but want to play around with an archer class and I would have to re-roll (after 30 hours). It’s single player. Who cares. Let me change and try, and change back if I want to, or change to something else. Have an in game fee if you like or some “punishment” but still, this is complete silliness that you can’t do that. I would still have to worry about gear and learning how to play – but again, single player. Stupid barrier. I may go back if I run out of things to play, but the chances of that happening are slim. I still think the DA series failed by not giving you a persistent character across the trilogy (a la Mass Effect)

EQ Progression Server : Upcoming

The nostalgic fool that I am, I am jumping into this game. Tomorrow. I have no clue who else will be playing (I know both Wilhelm and Bhagpuss will be in some capacity) and I am still torn on race/class. I may be a Gnome (the same class I did beta with and the same avatar I was an EQ guide as) or may go Troll once again – although I do dislike the new Troll graphics. Guk and the swamp was where my quintessential MMO experience was fleshed out and truly born, while the Minotaur caves in Steamfont was one of my fondest gaming experiences. I’ll make up my mind at some point. How long I last in the classic world remains to be seen but I have to go even just to visit. It will be wonderful to see starting areas with population again. Nostalgia is always temporary fun.

Summer is here, and I garden (don’t laugh! The vegetable kind!) and play outside, and don’t focus a lot on gaming so the EQ thing has terrible timing.  There is so many games coming up that I am curious about but we will see how the summer unfolds.

AAA Ball

Unlike the silliness of the term ‘AAA’ in video games AAA in baseball means the last step before the big leagues. And that is exactly where my right handed pitcher is during his climb to The Show – the PS4 MLB 15 version. I haven’t played a baseball game since 2012 and even back then I was very enthused with the RPG elements. No different here. Part of the reason why I bought the PS4 was so I could play the uncontested champion of baseball games and I am really glad to be back into it.

“Road to the Show” is the only game style I have played. It’s perfect, since you only control the plays your player is involved in. That still means 6 (ahem) to 9 (yay!) innings of pitching, depending on how I am making out. My son made a second baseman and it’s funny to see that he can be done a full game in 6 plays. Three at bats, and three fielding situations. This makes the long, 162 game season far more manageable. I couldn’t imagine having to play all of those innings. It also lends perspective on how much players make. Robinson Canoe, the top paid 2nd baseman this year would have made around $25,000 per play in that same situation.

One clever thing they did (in Canada, anyway) was nationalize the cover. I am pretty certain the catcher for the Toronto Blue Jays was not the cover star in Texas. Still, there was Russell Martin staring at me at my local Best Buy.

It is subtle touches like that that I really appreciate as a consumer. This wasn’t needed to make me buy the game, but by putting my favourite team’s best off season acquisition (and a Canadian player, to boot) on the cover really shows they are making the effort to talk to me as a consumer. Now, if only he could raise his batting average above .200 once we get out of April. Still, this is why baseball is awesome. He has another 140 games to fix that.

The game itself honestly didn’t blow me away as I first expected. The visuals are good, the baseball play is very solid (which is the most important) and they did put a lot of effort into making things more realistic. This is especially true that each stadium now has a sun cycle and shading that mirrors the actual ball parks. That is very cool, but I don’t notice a lot of it as a pitcher. For me I am just really excited to get back into a baseball game and especially one that I get to choose where and how to improve my player.

I was drafted by the Washington Nationals and I already asked for a trade. I don’t think the GM was very happy with me for doing that (probably not common for a minor league player asking for a trade after their first year) but hey, I eventually plan to hire Scott Boras so this is in line with expectations and behaviors from that camp. I’m in the middle of spring training of my second year and they have me middle relieving. Middle relieving!! Clearly they didn’t watch my four complete game shutouts with the Syracuse Chiefs. I will be a starter in the bigs, and I will get a Cy Young to my name. It just may take time, patience, and a beginner pitcher game options setting.

*as per the ‘Read the post and get $$$’ tag, I won a Google Play $15 card in the USA on my trip! Unfortunately, I live in Canada so I can’t redeem it. If you want to win the $15 card, just make a comment below and I’ll randomly draw from the group! Baseball related comments – why you love (or hate) the game, your favorite team, etc.