Wednesday, February 08, 2023

Fewer Chests For You!

 Some fun times in the community with the New World update.  

Removed a total of 28 Sarcophagi and Large Chests throughout Brimstone Sands to address global economy concerns.

 Community reaction is as expected and summed up as "WTF?".

 A developer responded in the forums with the classic "it was too good so we nerfed it"







I am sure this will calm everyone down.

Tuesday, February 07, 2023

Not Impressed with The Last of Us (TV)

 I hate to admit it but I am not impressed with The Last of Us TV show.  I had high hopes after seeing the Rotten Tomatoes scores and acclaim the series was getting, but I was not impressed.  Here are some thoughts rants from someone that never played the games but did watch episodes 1-3 of the TV show.

Spoiler warning.

 First, I want to say that the show is well produced.  Visually it is stellar and there is a distinct sense of a post-apocalyptic world.  Actors, individually, are great.  I do enjoy watching the show.

 With that said my brain is really struggling to not scream out loud about this show.  

 The biggest issue I have is the lack of chemistry between characters.  Joel and Ellie really do not click and the story telling does not help.  The relationship is forced; almost to the point of being too forced.  Ellie dropping f bombs every two seconds just does not help and then having her read a letter and articulate mother f'rs when the character that wrote the letter at no point gives the vibe of dropping mother f'rs (but I get it; who doesn't love Nick Offerman dropping the "not today you new world mother f'rs" line).  Bill and Frank of episode 3 also... just... nothing clicking between those actors.

 Also there is so little exposition.  Characters just jump right to the key piece of whatever they need. Ellie walks into a room, grabs a 1,000 page book, and flips to the exact page where the note she needs is stashed.  Then a second later she figures out its a secret code instead of just random notes on a piece of paper. Every single scene is this way; characters just fall right into where and what they need.  Plot armor is on high alert!

 Honestly I would be lost on some things if I wasn't listening to the companion podcast.  The podcast does a much better job of explaining character motivations and key moments than the actual show.  One particular one is where Joel flinches at one point touching Ellie after knowing she is infected yet numerous times before that.  In the show I barely remembered it because Joel is grabbing her without flinching in every other scene before and after that moment.  It wasn't until the podcast that I reconciled why he flinched in that one scene.  In retrospect the flinch was contrived and forced.

 Then there is the mechanics of how the world and it's fungus infection works.  It has made me go "what?" so many times.  Maybe it works in the games better than it does here?  The infection can be gotten from spores?  Or by getting bitten?  But not by being scratched or having an open head wound like Joel did fighting the clickers?  It was in the food supply and went global in one day?  And if you can catch it from spores why do the characters literally not care about climbing around mushroomed dead bodies everywhere?  Why are they eating their lunch surrounded by the stuff? Why do they pick up dead infected bodies to burn without a care in the world?  You would think any single encounter with an infected, dead or alive, or any of the tendrils growing from one would send folks into a panic.  

 Let's not even get into how the fungus becomes octopus like and able to move it's tendrils about and therefore has zero resemblance to the concept of the fungus causing it's host to do something vs the fungus becoming sentient.  On top of that it only has these special powers in scenes where the visual effects budget allows for it.

 Also a single gun shot takes out an infected but being crushed in rubble doesn't?  Why do some die so fast and why are others found years later?  The one liners trying to cover this and the flashback at the start of episode two fall woefully short of making any sense to me.  It feels like the show tries way to hard to explain the situation and just comes up short.  

 I really, really struggle with the world building here.  I literally do not want to hear about it anymore.  Just make the world dangerous and don't bother trying to over explain it to me.  Bad shit happened and the world is what it is.  Now take off the plot armor on the characters and work on chemistry between characters.  Also stop giving them freaking chicken sandwiches.  No one is eating bread in this world if the worldwide outbreak was caused by flour being contaminated.

Monday, February 06, 2023

It was the best of Battlefield 2042 games until...

 I've been AFK for a bit but got a chance to jump into the most recent Battlefield 2042 update and I was having the best of games (like seriously; it is rare that I hit the top of the board) and all I'll have to show for it is these two screenshots as the round ended suddenly with "all players disconnected".  Oh well!

Five minutes in and crushing the revives and getting a few kills.
More kills and revives; still the top!

Personally I count it as a first place win.  Ignore the other team and their super K:Ds; my team was rubbish.

Sunday, February 05, 2023

Call of the Wild the Angler guide for Golden Ridge

 Not much content out there for CotW the Angler so when I saw this guide for Golden Ridge I had to share.  Very thorough and well done.  Enjoy!

Friday, February 03, 2023

Dark and Darker - looks interesting - free next week

 Dark and Darker is coming to Steam soon (next week?) and is a PvPvE hardcore FPS something fantasy dungeon game something.

An unforgiving hardcore fantasy FPS dungeon PvPvE adventure. Band together with your friends and use your courage, wits, and cunning to uncover mythical treasures, defeat gruesome monsters, while staying one step ahead of the other devious treasure-hunters. 

Honestly they had me at PvPvE.  Looks interesting.

Sunday, January 29, 2023

New World Community Q&A Thoughts

 A little tardy (business travel), but here are my thoughts from the New World community Q&A earlier this month.

 I want to give the team kudos for tackling community feedback about the speed at which "critical community asks" are worked.  Basically: it's hard.  As someone who manages a software development lifecycle at work I totally get it, but this message probably falls flat on the community.  Still; kudos to the team for being willing to engage in the conversation and even follow it up in another video (where they mention "the door problem" which is very good at illustrating the point).

 Back to the community video; bots were discussed.  Bots are not the problem in New World anymore that they once were.  Sure bots are still out there but it has been pretty clean for a while.  I can't remember the last time I ran into a clear bot or felt like the market was dominated by bots dumping 0.01 materials 24/7.

 Armor types were discussed and we know balance changes are coming soon.  It is good to hear the team confirm they know light armor is too strong currently and needs a change.  They seem to be focused on making light armor more risky which I think is a good approach since light armor has such good bonuses compared to the others but has very little draw back.  It sounds like light will be a lot less versatile with defensive perks and thus be more of that "higher risk for higher damage" that it should have been all along.

 Greatsword and Musket balance... being worked on.  Duh.

 Zone revamps were mentioned and it was confirmed that zones will continue to be updated as the main story quest gets revamped.  While I wasn't sold on the revamps done already (I personally feel like they don't fit thematically) it is good to see games breath life into old areas.  I was a big fan when World of Warcraft redid most of their world and really liked when Guild Wars 2 chose to burn one of the main capitals, Lion's Arch, to the ground and then rebuild it.  Change is good for MMOs.

 Corruption portals are also on the revamp list: less frequent but more eventful/challenging.  I look forward to seeing them be more meaningful.

 The conversation wrapped up with a discussion on PvE vs PvP weapon and gear balancing.  "It's a hard problem" is a correct statement, but the team also mentioned there is already things like PvP only perks and PvE only perks so they've been working on this since the game launched.  I personally think they do a really good job of balancing across the modes.

 And last but not least they confirmed hippos are coming to New World, but only after we get monkeys.


Monday, January 23, 2023

Lost Ark or Lost Bots?

 While I only briefly tried out Lost Ark (it wasn't

for me at the time compared to current offerings such as New World) the game has been interesting to follow.  Lost Ark was drawing massive concurrent player numbers on Steam for it's North American playerbase and as a fan of MMORPGs seeing a game regularly cruising at 300,000+ concurrent players is what I want to see for the genre.  Also of interest was how this game, already two years old in other parts of the world where it launched before, would manage when so much about the game was already known.  

 One key aspect of that is how bots would shape the game.  Bots a problem for all online games and Lost Ark, booming in popularity, seemed like it had its fair share of bots.  At time I heard jokes about "50% of players are bots" and some brave enough to say 50% was lowballing it.  Well now we have a pretty good idea that it was probably 50%+ bot population.

 Using Steam DB charts like the unscientific tool they are we can see the sharp drop in player numbers immediately after the massive bot ban wave in early January.  The game is just now recovering to 100,000+ player peaks and right after the ban wave the peak numbers were just a meager 50-60,000.  The game literally cratered from 300,000+ peak concurrent players to less than 100,000 which gives good evidence some 200,000+ players at peak concurrency were bots.  Holy freakin' crap.

 Lost Ark... neigh!  Lost Bots!  Hopefully the Lost Ark faithful, the actual players, are enjoying the freedom from bots.  I doubt all bots are gone but a good chunk appear to be.

Saturday, January 21, 2023

Return of the Classes to Battlefield 2042

 Classes are somewhat coming back to Battlefield 2042 as outlined in this update from the development team.  As a player who more recently joined Battlefield 2042 I was already playing after multiple changes since launch that were targeted at bringing classes back due to player feedback about the specialist-only system.  These final updates bring back the classic battlefield classes (recon, assault, support, medic) with a twist.  With a twist come some thoughts.  With thoughts comes this post.

 In Battlefield games classes normally restrict what weapons and gadgets players can use.  In 2042 classes will not restrict weapon use but will limit gadgets.  Instead of limiting weapons classes will gain a proficiency in a weapon.  For example; Medics will be more proficient with SMGs (exact details below)

Assault + Assault Rifles: 3 Extra Magazines
Engineer + LMG: Improved Dispersion while Crouched or Prone
Support + SMG: Faster Draw Time
Recon + Sniper Rifles: Immediate, constant and steady scope

 At face value these are hard to evaluate. When I had first heard they were thinking of proficiency I thought it would mean a more dramatic impact; such as an assault player being unable to aim an LMG.  But stuff like assault getting stuff like three extra magazines on an assault weapon? When is the last time you've run out of ammo or lived long enough to go through stock magazines?  

 I don't think players desire for classes to return was just to have a limited set of gadgets to worry about when facing an opponent.  The guns classes were limited to was a huge part of the system. Without I am not sure what the point of having the classes is.  This could have just been a simple pass through gadgets to limit them to specific specialists.

 On the other hand these changes do at least bring classes back to the game in an official capacity without taking away combinations many players enjoy as far as their main pea shooter.  Gadgets getting restricted will certainly freshen up some things (no more Mackey zip-lining in with C5).  I hope this means vehicles have a little bit of a return knowing that not everyone can pop out with a rocket launcher.

 The changes will hit in the next month or so and shake the game up.  I've been playing a lot less 2042 lately so we'll see if I am around for the changes.  If so I'll probably have some more thoughts.

Friday, January 20, 2023

Wooting 60HE Is Like Cheating

 Still under the weather and facing down travel for work so going to keep things general topic for a few days here and yes I know I said 2023 blogging would be more about gaming moments/memories instead of opinion and blather but bear with me as I fail yet again to do what I say I'll do.  With that said today I wanted to chime in on my experience so far with the Wooting 60HE keyboard.  It is like legal cheating.

 What you can do with this keyboard creates immediate difference in how you play games; especially any game where quick movement via WASD, such as side to side strafing, is advantageous (which is basically all FPS).  Out of the box this wasn't apparent but after watching YouTube videos like the one below and tweaking settings I found the difference remarkable.

 The main tweak enabled by the keyboard's lekkar switches is per key actuation settings.  Setting one key to actuate (i.e. register that it was pressed and released) at 0.7 mm and another to actuate only at full key press 4.0 mm lets you have keys be super responsive or require a full key press (i.e. eliminate you hitting it by accident).

My Wooting 60HE
 In my use case, as in the video, it is FPS games and WASD at 0.7 mm which gives such a crazy sense of response.  It is the closest I've ever felt to movement keys responding to the speed my brain is working at.  Depending on the game and how snappy movement is influences the feeling, but for many modern games such as Overwatch in the video or Battlefield 2042 for me it changes how you move in the game.

 Movement advantage wasn't as obvious in New World, but what is clear is being able to avoid accidental activation of things like my heartrune (like an ultimate ability) or key skills I want to be purposeful in using.

 There is also capability that other keyboards have such as mod tap where a single key can be set to do one thing with a tap or something else if it is held.  I don't have many creative game uses for this but since its a 60% keyboard with no arrow keys I have keys set up to act as arrow keys on tap but their normal action on hold.  No arrow keys is probably my biggest gripe with moving to a 60% board.

 The difference is not just noticeable in games, but in general productivity as well.  If, like me, you are prone to typing errors because you hit keys by accident going in and setting those keys to longer actuation or shorter if they are one's you miss easily (for me its P that I set to actuate faster just the way I reach for P).

 Then throw in things like the keyboard saving all the settings on the keyboard itself, being able to manage via a web browser instead of needing an app, and just so many nice quality of ownership features and this thing is crazy.  Any serious PC gamer is at a disadvantage without this keyboard.  Will it make you into a chad gamer just by using it?  No, but you should feel a difference and that is saying a lot for a $175 keyboard when there are many more expensive "gaming" keyboards out there that don't do anything remarkable.

Thursday, January 19, 2023


 Doozy of a stomach bug rampaging the house.  Blogging will return afterwards!