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Archive for the ‘Computer gaming’ Category

Lok’Tar Ogar Mr. Metzen

So it took Chris Metzen retiring to break me from stasis and get me to blog here again. I don’t know if anyone will see this but today I’m letting my inner 12 years old out to thank a man that was rather influential to a little nerd like me.

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Now, I know that in recent years mr. Metzen has been a somewhat controversial figure in the gaming community for reasons mostly relating to his stories which have been described as comic book level writing aimed at 12 years old boys with all that it entails. Shallow storylines, objectified females characters and plot holes so deep that they turned into black holes that sucked into them any semblance of sense from the rest of the story.

Of course, he also had his defenders but one thing that everyone seemed to agree on is that he had an energy and passion for the games he worked on that was rarely seen. In many ways, he was still a 12 years old letting his imagination run wild and telling you about all the cool things that were happening. He had an enthusiasm that was contagious and even managed to get me excited about Warlords orcs of all things.

So what about me? Well, back I was …12 years old… I stumbled upon Warcraft and soon after Warcraft 2 and surprise, I got totally hooked. I would play the game every moment I could and I would read the manual with all the cool art (blood!) when I wasn’t playing. I still have that manual somewhere. Later on I moved to Diablo, got hooked again and from that point I was pretty much a Blizzard fanboy.

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I’ll keep this short and say that I just want to take a moment to thank Chris Metzen and wish him all the best in whatever he wants to do next. For me, he’s always been that lucky nerd that managed to make his DnD game come to life and I enjoyed that ride a lot over the years. He might not have been perfect but I’m willing to forgive a fellow geek who just wanted to share his fun and exctiment with me.

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Doby is free!!!!

It is done… after 71 hours, a break during which I played Until Dawn from beginning to end, and many dead aliens later, I have completed XCom2 on the commander-ironman difficulty. I had highs, lows and moments where I came close to just ragequit (lost a campaign in the very last room) but I prevailed and managed to complete one of the best games I played in a long time. When I did finish, it was with a mixed feelings of elation for beating the game but also for being free of the grip it had on me. Doby is free summed up my feelings pretty well.

I don’t want to dwell too long on the game itself except maybe to tell everyone that Psi-operatives are your best friends for that last mission. Get them, use them and abuse them. I’m also not a fan of the final fight which I feel is way too luck based in a game where everything can go to hell pretty quickly if the RNG doesn’t like you.

That anima weapon grind…    

On the FF14 front, I’m slowly working my way toward finishing the “build a new weapon” step of the new anima weapon grind. I have bought most of the required items at discount by watching prices and I have enough money to buy the remaining 4 Adamatite Francesca when I’ll need them. On the token part, I’m missing 57 tokens which is worth 38760 tomes… a lot but less than the 50k + that I was looking at when I began.

So right now my FF14 playing is mostly doing roulettes and beast dailies to lower that ridiculous number and at the current pace I should be done somewhere in may maybe… wish me luck…

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Welcome back to the second update of my Xcom 2 challenge. Last time I was 24 hours in with a game I felt was on the right track. So what happened? XCom happened and one of the story missions went horribly wrong a turn away from winning it. So with a costly failure and a total wipeout of my team, it was back to square one and starting a new game.

Moving forward to today, I’m now 51 hours in and I think well on my way to finish the game with my current playthrough. Before getting there however, I had a lot of messy games where I was experimenting and/or where the RNG was kicking me in the teeth but with my current game I’m more confident. I’m done with research, got a great A-team on the way, full equipment upgrades and now I’m just trying to finish story objectives. It might sound like everything is under control but the aliens are out in full force and the timer missions are getting absurd for the simple fact that with multiple high health/armor aliens going around, it’s hard to move forward quickly. So I’m trying to be super-efficient now and rush to endgame before it gets out of hand.

On the good side of things, I actually had a full team wipeout followed by a failed mission and I was able to recover nicely so I’m not in mortal danger anymore of losing the entire run due to a failure and that’s real nice.

Blog and life things

For the past few weeks I’ve been going through a phase of soul-searching when it comes to my life and gaming in general. Maybe it’s me getting old or something in the air but I’ve been thinking about where I am right now in my life, where I want to be heading, am I truly happy with my choices and so forth. I’m not done with all the thinking and I know I’m not giving up gaming or anything similar but this blog has been on my mind about what to do with it. I don’t exactly want to give it up but this blog was made at a time where I had strong opinions about MMOs and the game industry and I’ve sorta made my mind and my peace with a lot of what annoyed me before. This blog has been very quiet in the last year and it’s due in no small part to this.

I’ll figure out exactly what I want to do soon I expect and I’ll make sure to keep everyone updated here.

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Usually I try to go over what I’ve been up to each week in the MMO world and talk about my train of thought. I would have loved to be able to do this this week except that I can’t… because I disappeared into a hole called XCom 2. Since last Friday, every moment I’ve had that I could do some gaming with has been spent with the newest iteration of my obsession. I didn’t think they’d be able to top the first game but they did and now I can’t seem to be able to do anything else but try to beat this beast on Commander/Ironman difficulty. According to steam I have spent 24 hours playing this game in the last week and I still feel like I’m a far bit off from beating it.

Last time I played Xcom on this blog I went for Classic/Ironman difficulty meaning that I was playing the game on hard and wasn’t allowed to reload my game to a previous point to avoid a costly mistake. I figured I could do the same with XCom 2 but it’s turning out to be a lot harder than the first time around. This time, the AI seems to be actively countering your moves and moving to complete its own end-game project which means it’s not just about being able to beat certain tests at certain times like in the first game. It’s harder but I love it.

So where am I progress wise after a week of playing? Right now I’m in my most progressed game and I’m just about to begin the third retaliation mission. I’ve destroyed the black site and another alien facility and aiming to get to the third one soon. Most of my gear is now tier2 and I’m days away from having my Psi training facility up. So there that on the positive side.

On the more negative side, the Avatar project is halfway done and I’m worried that after the next facility I’m going to be struggling a lot with Intel. I’m already short on intel and I’ve got a dark event doubling the costs so it’s not easy going. Team wise, I recently lost two key soldiers and most of my senior officers are recovering from wounds which mean that I have to attempt missions with a rookie or two lately which is less than ideal. However, I have two new sergeants and a ranger made lieutenant so I’m leveling up some replacements but I’m worried that with the missions getting harder I’m going to have too many people on the wounded list.

So right now on attempt 18, getting farther into the game and hoping I’m not going to lose all my team due to a run of bad luck.

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undertale

Warning, this review has some serious spoilers about the game mechanics.

I picked up Undertale during the holidays after seeing it appear more and more often on best of year lists. Up to that point I had missed pretty much everything regarding this game other than some background noise about it being a great game and I figured I needed to play it for myself. So it is with absolute zero knowledge of what the game is about that I dived in.

So did I like it? Not at all, I liked part of it but I don’t agree with a lot of the story elements and some of tricks the game uses to tell the story. Is it a bad game? It’s a great game that’s well-crafted and manages to deliver a powerful experience to the player. Something a lot of games aspire to but few manage to.

This leads me to say that Undertale being an experience is probably the best way to describes it. It’s a game about choices and the moral consequences they carry. It’s a game that tries to show you that the characters you’re fighting are more than roadblocks on your path but are actual people with stories and personalities. In essence it’s a game that tries very hard to make you feel that killing and fighting these people is a bad thing that you shouldn’t be doing.

It’s an extremely judgmental game that uses a lot of tricks, misinformation and manipulation of the player to achieve its goals.

Instead of going over the details of how it does so like I usually do, I’ll relate my experience playing the game. Close to the beginning of the game you get to fight goat mom who wants you to stay with her. I couldn’t use the mercy commands right away like I could in the dungeon before so I figured something needed to happen first. My thought was that I needed to weaken her enough and then she’d allow me to use mercy. So I started witling at her health without knowing that there’s a hidden mechanic where if you hit a monster enough time you will eventually one shot whatever remains of their health. So at around 50%, I did a mega crit that killed goat mom and that was it, my game was screwed with no way of going back.

I tried reloading but found out that the game auto-saved at that point. I checked guides to see if I was screwed and found out that yes I was and that even restarting the game wouldn’t save me entirely. So I decided to keep playing and aim for a “middle” ending, resolved to not kill any of the other characters.

Which would have been fine if the game didn’t keep reminding me that I was a bad person all the time because someone died. Even when I ultimately finished the game and restarted a new game, the game kept on reminding me that in a previous life (game) I had done bad stuff.

Another trick the game uses, is to make the characters you encounter caricatures of lonely and sad people with the hope you’ll relate to them. There’s Alphys, the awkward anime fangirl and Papyrus who is way too hype about everything to cover its insecurities just to give two examples. Pretty much every character in the game has its own sad story just to make you feel for them. They didn’t feel real or likable to me, they felt like caricatures, easy storytellers tricks to make me feel for them. Instead of writing smart characters and leave it up to me to decide if I like them or not, the game tells me that I have to like them all.

There’s an argument to be made that whether or not you like Undertale is a matter of taste. It’s a game about showing you that choices have consequences that cannot be undone with a simple reset. It’s a lesson that has merit in itself, I won’t deny that.

But for a game that is about choices, I didn’t feel like I was in control of them. Instead I was railroaded and tricked into making bad ones just so the game could tell me that I’m a bad person and that I should have known better. I hate being manipulated especially when it’s by someone who has an agenda, especially a moral one, and that is exactly what Undertale did.

 

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Hello old friend, been a while since I wrote anything here but this place has always been a good one to sort my thoughts so today I’m breaking the silence to write about that joyous mess that is my MMO life at the moment.

2015 has been a very insightful year for me as far as MMOs goes. First I learned that the old hardcore guild still existed out there and that it wasn’t for me anymore. Then I rediscovered thanks to the Greysky Armada crew that a great group of people makes any game a thousand times better. I was also reminded that I’m in a weird place when it comes to raiding. On one hand I love to raid with those people but on the other I can’t really commit a lot of time to it.

Lately, the Greysky gang is split up over a multitude of games since FFXIV is having trouble at keeping our interest and I find myself without really a game to latch onto. I tried going back to WoW for a whole 20 minutes before deciding that I’m truly done with the game, Swtor failed to hold my interest past Dromund Kas, I just can’t seem to latch onto Wildstar and now I find myself enjoying short sessions of The Secret World here and there and I’ve started anew in Lotro just to enjoy a good dose of Middle-Earth lore.

So to start off the New Year and stealing from Belghast style, here’s what I’ve been up to lately.

FFXIV

That game is currently on hold despite being pretty much my favorite MMO out there at the moment. The simple truth is that I’ve run out of content to do and right now I’m faced with either leveling classes, grinding dailies, grinding for the new anima weapon or finding a raid group to do savage content with. All time consuming tasks that frankly don’t motivate me to log in at the moment. So I’ve put the sub on hold until the flame is lit again and I feel like diving back in.

LOTRO

That one is a bit of a surprise but here I am. Every so often the urge to explore Middle-Earth strikes and I find myself back in Lotro, a game that’s incredibly slow paced, has clunky mechanics and overall has aged pretty terribly. Still, it does the two things I love the most incredibly well, exploration and lore. This time around though, I’m playing without any particular goal other than enjoying the lore and it’s been a pretty enjoyable experience.

I’m currently sitting at level 12 and finishing up quests around Combe, the first area outside the human starter zone. The Blackwold gang is still messing up things after all these years and yet again brave adventurers must put an end to them.

The secret world

Speaking of playing games for the lore, I’m back again in the secret world and I’ve been having a great time, so much so that I’m real hopeful to make it past the Blue mountains this time around. I’ve even been doing the Investigation quests without cheating! It may have taken me 2 hours to decipher a bit of morse code but the feeling of doing it was awesome! Speaking of morse code, I now have a profound respect for anyone who can do it live without having to listen to the same part over and over again.

I’m progressing fast in the zones because I’m spending all that time going after lore but I’m not in a hurry so it’s all good. I’m working on finishing up the haunted amusement park of the savage coast and should move to the school pretty soon.

And the rest…

Remember at the beginning of this post when I talked about loving to raid but not having time for it? That’s still the big unknown for me. With Lotro and TSW it’s pretty clear I’m not going to be raiding anytime soon and the bug might back to bite me anytime. The best case scenario would be Greysky starting up again in FFXIV but when is another topic entirely.

I also played quite a bit of single-player games over the holidays, one of which was Undertale, a game I’m reserving a post for tomorrow.

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Monday random updates

Odin is finally d-e-d dead ! Again, my suspicions were confirmed and my inability to get a kill had more to do with the groups I was stumbling upon and less about my own skills. At its core, Odin is a dps check and if you have bad dps… well… Sadly though, while we did try Ramuh right after the bastard is still standing. If I’m being honest, this was a case of some people in the run not taking the fight seriously and causing wipes due to repeated derps. If anything this drives home the point that Ramuh Ex is to be taken seriously. But hey, one target down over the weekend so that’s a win.

On the Atma front I’ve completed book number 4 and I’m not nearly done with book 5 so I’m now officially more than 50% done with this step of the atma weapon! I still have a way to go but it’s fun to feel like I’m making progress.

In other gaming news I’ve picked up Darkest Dungeon yesterday and spent most of the day playing it. I now understand why it’s been getting such rave reviews and I plan on making one myself later this week but I can already tell it’s going to be one of 2015 top games.

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