Monthly Archive: November 2018

Blog Therapy – Drafts Purge – Part 6

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.

 My other posts in this series are Part 1Part 2Part 3, Part 4  ,  Part 5 

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?

Alpha Gaming Weekend : Redacted

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.

Battlefield V

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.

 

Because 5 is a Thing : BFV

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.

  1. (I) Squad Play is enhanced. You actually NEED all four classes, and running off on your own without them is detrimental to your game.
  2. (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.
  3. (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.
  4. (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.
  5. (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!

Beautifield 5

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!

Blizzzard (Im)mortal

I was away for two weeks. Long flights, late nights, time zones, work, play. Good times. As always when I step away from the blog I miss writing. Because of the kind of trip I had I don’t have a ton to write about – but I did follow a lot of the Blizzcon announcements, the subsequent grumblings, and all. So with a two weeks away post you get a bullet point paragraph post!

  • Blizzcon

Not surprisingly, underwhelming.  Almost seems like “what’s the point” of having a convention if you have nothing great to share. A simple “We aren’t having a convention. We are going to continue to monetize existing games, and even revive an old one to monetize further! Also, we will put a game already on it’s last legs into mobile format and find new ways to monetize it!). No one is surprised.

Well, Blizzard fans are. And here is where I say “reality check” time.

Blizzard is a digital company. You should not expect them to treat you like a friend, or a loyal customer. They have spent years not treating loyal customers like most other companies have to treat loyal customers. North America is not the main focus market anymore. There is far more growth other places in the world – countries that have billions of people who game more on mobile. You should not be surprised (or disappointed). Digital companies are the worst at treating loyal fans, because fans are happy with information over incentives. Ask anyone who has a loyalty card from their favourite restaurant what the bonus is – you spend  money there, and you get rewarded. The more you spend the more rewards you get.

Digital companies only take.

This is NOT sour grapes on my part. Although I have long argued that gaming companies would do well to treat loyal customers as loyal customers they continue to value the person who plays one title for ONE month as the equivalent of a customer who has played 4 blizzard titles, some for a decade (or more) as the new guy on the street. They can afford the churn and burn in the global marketplace. I am not disappointed because this is exactly what I expect Blizzard to do – make the most amount of money for the least amount of effort.

They are making mobile Diablo because they need to monetize Diablo. And a mobile game is far easier, cheaper, and faster to build than a full blown game. They have probably run the numbers and have sorted that a mobile Diablo would make more money than a full PC version of Diablo anyway. They have or they wouldn’t be doing it.

  • Alpha Breach

I was invited to a second Alpha, of the technical variety, called Breach. I am looking forward to it. Right now testing seems to be focused as every time I have tried to log in the servers have been down. There are no secrets here, you can stream the Alpha, so I can talk about it all I want. Co-op, 4 player, RPG, classes. Heck, might be fun. We will see. I will share more when I can.

  • Secret Alpha

The other, Alpha that can’t be named, unless you are clever like Bhagpuss, has been a fun experience. I am worried it is one of the “more fun without other people” experiences, as it is a PVP game and right now I have time and space to explore and sort things out. I can see a future of roaming gankers and no room to breathe. Yes, I know, MMORPG MEANS OTHER PEOPLE. Except when it doesn’t. Like every PVE MMORPG right now. Still, advancing and learning is fun. There is some mystery. There is a lot of work left to do. Looking forward to when we can talk about it. On a side note, am I the only one that thinks that Survival PVP games only really work on terrain that is randomly generated? (Else people just find and fight over the “best” spots…)

  • Diablo III for reals

Somewhat ironically I have been playing a bit of D3 because I never did level a class on my PC version. And with the lack of  a WoW sub right now was looking for games to mess around in that I already have. Which has largely been taken up by the Secret Alpha and the Alpha I can’t access yet. Still, It is fun which had me itching for a not 5 year old RPG….

  • Path of Exile

Free to play, I have been trying it. It’s not so bad. I know there is a ridiculous amount of complexity to it that I am quickly picking up on the learning curve. Not sure where to stick or how long it will, but it is a time passer and fun to play back to back with D3.

  • MTGA

Daily play, get my packs, build my decks. It’s the best card game out there. Funny on what is old is new again – when I first started I was playing a Golgari Explore deck which was ok, but not really competitive with the control decks and aggro red decks of the time. I had to build my deck to be unwieldy to ensure I had win conditions vs the decks I was seeing a lot of. Fast forward to Ravnica, and I am back to using that deck and not facing the same problems I had before as people are playing base Ravnica decks for the most part. Perhaps it is true that I just got actual experience during those hundreds of hours of play “testing”. It’s an easy and quick play to get through every day. Fun when your deck gets the right cards in the right order and things go swimmingly. I still hate the quick quitters though and enjoy playing it out to the end.

Big roundup, glad to be back – did you miss me?