This just dropped and I love it! Green Bay Packers + GTA!
Wednesday, December 06, 2023
Tuesday, December 05, 2023
Just a random thought for the day as I had no creative energy for any other post. I recently re-watched Groundhog Day for the first time in decades and it was as good as I remembered it to be. It was a delight to be able to share with my teenager as well. One thing stuck out to me at the end of the movie: it never explains the mystery of how it all happened and that is part of what makes it such a great movie.
I think modern story telling, especially in games, could learn a lot from Groundhog Day. So many movies, books, and games go out of their way trying to explain the mystery. Anyone remember the Lost television show and it's eventual attempts at explaining the great mysteries of the show? I do and it just didn't work.
This doesn't mean always explaining the mystery is a bad idea. Sometimes story tellers nail it. If you've played Bioshock there is a lot of mystery to start that game and eventually it pays off in an amazing reveal. So it can be done right, but it so often is not or the mystery is explained when it didn't need to be.
Brandon Sanderson is an author who I feel falls into this issue a good bit in his stories. He painstakingly goes over details of his worlds to the point where there is little mystery left and when mystery is a big aspect of his story, such as in Elantris, the eventual explanation was so unsatisfying (really; it was just a drawing a single line!?!?!). I still like Brandon's books, but I do wish he'd sometimes just leave the mystery to us vs a need to have everything fit neat and tidy into the Cosmere.
So if you are an author, game writer, or screen writer please take a moment to consider why a mystery needs to be explained at all because chances are it doesn't need to be. Sometimes its better to just not know so we can enjoy the story.
Sunday, December 03, 2023
Thursday, November 30, 2023
Tuesday, November 28, 2023
It's that time of year again where we share what we bought over the Black Friday and Cyber Monday shop-a-thon. For me I nabbed a few gamer things!
First up was what my teenager has been waiting for: his own gaming PC. We ordered all the parts which will make up his holiday haul. He is also getting some hand-me-downs from my recent upgrade (GPU and PSU). We went with an AMD build again; Ryzen 7600X CPU, 5700 XT GPU (hand me down), 2 TB NVMe SSD, and 32 GB memory. I'd say I got great deals but it was pretty lackluster as far as deals go this year.Model I wired mouse. I have a Model O wired currently and it sold me on the lightweight mouse. The only downside of the Model O for me is that it has only two side buttons. The Model I brings three side buttons and a fourth "sniper" button (defaults to lower DPI for sniping in FPS games). It will take a bit to retrain myself to the four buttons but so far so good and it keeps the same lightweight feel!
I was nostalgic for some holiday season tunes ringing through the halls (home office) so am finally filling the "no speakers" gap for my home PC. I grabbed this soundbar to fill the role.
Lastly I surfed the board game sales and like PC parts... it felt like a down year as far as deals go. I did end up grabbing the Arkham Horror The Card Game Revised Core Set which was at an all time low. This was on my "want to try" list and now that I have a teenager in the family it felt like the right time to adult our co-op games. Looking forward to giving this a whirl.
Monday, November 27, 2023
First, some context. I have played Firestaff/Sword and Shield in Heavy armor since New World launched over two years ago. I am well known on Castle of Steel as "that guy that runs heavy flamethrower" and having played many arena matches against Nyce Gaming himself I can't help feel I shaped his opinion somewhat.
The first area that Nyce touches on is how flamethrower is "one button" press and how the player doesn't run out of mana and with the right haste abilities can scoot around with the flamethrower without getting hit (note: he shows this in PvE). This is a fair assessment of the ability but I'd ask what is different with this than infinite left click melee light attacks? Light attacks require no resource management, are area of effect (AoE) damage, and can hit much harder than flamethrower. Many light attack chains also apply various debuffs and DoT (damage over time) effects.
If you consider PvE for a moment where melee is king because of the cleave AoE most ranged weapons suffer a good bit comparatively (which is why AGS made it so ranged weapons do more damage in PvE). Again no melee user is spending a resource such as "mana" to do their damage so it is a mute point that flamethrower can be used "without losing mana". Mana is dumb in the first place in New World if melee has no equivalent such as having to use their stamina to attack. Also the "kiting" shown in the video is doable by any ranged weapon; nothing unique to flamethrower here.
If you consider PvP a lot of the same points as PvE are relevant. Again melee is out there never even having to think about managing a resource to be able to attack. Players also stagger and stun a lot more in PvP than you experience in PvE; each of which stops flamethrower. Also popular in PvP currently is Alacritous Punishment which is +20% damage to players with haste so having haste + flamethrower going can open you up. Flamethrower also slows the player down, even with haste, which is problematic in PvP and allows players to get away.
The only real point made at the start here is flamethrower is one button press vs other parts of the game require more button presses/clicks. The argument about mana is mute until such time melee also has a resource pool to worry about.
Next Nyce talks about "they can whip it right back out" which refers to the flamethrower upgraded ability where it can be used without a cooldown compared to most abilities that have a cooldown after being used. Having no cooldown flamethrower requires multiple investment points in the tree which means there is opportunity cost going this route as the player cannot invest elsewhere. There was also a 2.5s cooldown added if the player is interrupted using flamethrower.
Further into the video Nyce starts talking about the Firestaff artifact Inferno. In the current version of the live game this changes damage to strike (instead of fire), damage scaling off STR, +damage to targets within 8m, and has the incinerate perk locked. In the version on PTR (assumed for next patch) the strike damage is replaced by fire damage and the incinerate perk is gone.
|Inferno Live vs PTR (as of 11/27/2023)|
Nyce posits that this change will mean Inferno becomes the defacto best firestaff and will encourage flamethrower use. I think this is a fair argument; the changes to inferno look very strong. I'd argue though it is not just about flamethrower... it will be good for any firestaff player. And more worrying than flamethrower will be firestaff/blunderbuss combo as that combo is almost always done right into the face of the opponent.
So I'll jump on the bandwagon with Nyce that the PTR Inferno is too strong but will argue it's less about flamethrower and more about other builds such as the blunderbuss combo that is already top dog in PvP. The only real downside of Inferno is it can't slot a gem (gem slot is not allowed to be added).
Personally I don't like when artifacts offer straight up mathematically better versions of the weapon the way Inferno is doing on the PTR. I much prefer artifacts that are designed for the player to lean into the uniqueness of the artifact. Original Inferno with Empowering Incinerate did exactly that. The only issue with original Inferno was the conversion to strike damage vs staying as fire damage; that completely gimped the damage. I think keeping Empowering Incinerate on the weapon would help offset the change back to fire damage and fit better thematically.
If Inferno goes into live as it is on PTR it will be my goal to snag one as soon as possible. My prediction as well will be firestaff/bludnerbuss will be that much more of a problem than it is currently. This basically is giving that combo close to guaranteed max empower cap (+50%) on the firestaff portion of the wombo combo. If you think it hits hard now wait until it hits even harder.
Over all I think the constant cries to "nerf flamethrower" are less about it being too strong (Nyce says as much in the video that flamethrower is not too strong) and more about folks perception of how "easy" flamethrower is compared to whatever thing they are playing as. If flamethower gets changed in some meaningful way there will just be whatever is next on the list for these folks that is "too easy" compared to whatever left click spam they are playing.
Again, I've played with firestaff since day one. I played it from when it was nerfed into worthlessness all the way until now where it is in a pretty good spot for my build. I do see where over all firestaff is probably too strong (especially the combo with blunderbuss) and that is the larger concern in my book for the PTR version of Inferno. The issue is not flamethrower; it is just the fact that firestaff + INT attribute bonuses make it some of the best damage in the game. Flamethrower itself is in a good spot. The damage feels balanced and the interrupt has done a lot to get away from the "whip it back out" of the past. You also don't see many light firestaff players using flamethrower because it does open you up to big hits which is why you are seeing more of my style of flamethrowing: in heavy!
Saturday, November 25, 2023
Friday, November 24, 2023
First we need to note that the gear score (GS) max rose from 625 to 700 so 700 is the top end of progression. Then we can look at the current buckets of progression.
- Regular - up to 675 GS
- M1 - up to 700 GS
- M2 - up to 700 GS
- M3 - up to 700 GS
- Artifact - always drop at 700 GS (multiple methods
- Gypsum Kiln Named Item Upgrade - 700 GS
- Gypsum Kiln Named Mutator/Expedition Replica - 700 GS
- Crafting - for all intents and purpose - 700 GS
- PvP tracks - mostly 675 GS, but up to 700 GS
- PvP caches - up to 700 GS
As you can see most all content drops up to 700 GS which seems great until you consider the "up to" part and compare to the ability to "upgrade" named items. Named item upgrades also allow a third perk to be selected giving more variety. Getting that awesome 699 GS drop is fleeting as most players likely are going to slot in a 700 GS kiln-upgraded named item.
Now look at that pile of other 690+ GS legendary items that just came out of that mutation run or PvP reward cache... and it's all worthless. No one is buying it on the market (not that much of it can be sold since its mostly bind on pickup) and you aren't going to use any of it except as a temporary stop gap in some builds. We are right back where we were with past New World: most legendary item drops are nothing more than something you salvage.
I think a lot more items could have been made useful and a more natural progression curve experienced through a few simple tweaks I've noted below.
The big change: remove named item upgrades in the gypsum kiln. Instead use the same recipe and materials to allow a player to change the 3rd perk on a named item but keep the same GS level.
Next change the GS reward range of each type of content.
Expeditions should have been 625-660 for regular, 660-680 for M1, 680-695 for M2, and 690-700 for M3 (artifacts can drop at any mutation level still).
PvP tracks reward up to 700 GS but higher GS chance the higher the track level you are. Artifacts drop as they do today on the tracks.
Crafting can mostly remain as it is, but I'd dial back recipes like shard of pride and chromatic seal allowing a 700 GS craft. Instead have it be in the 680+ range. Leave the 700 GS perfect crafts for the perfect recipe. It's too easy to spend a fraction of the time, effort, and materials using the other crafting methods to get 700 GS crafts.
With these changes, suddenly all of those 650+ GS drops become very interesting. You may use a 681 GS weapon for a week in M2s until you get a 690 to drop. You would likely take that 675 PvP reward track option because there isn't easy to mint 700 GS options. If you do mutations you are slowly working up the GS reward levels. So many more items become useful.
Instead what we got was a system where on day 1 of expansion launch I logged in, farmed up a named fire staff, and immediately upgraded it to 700 GS, meaning 99.9% of all drops for my main build's weapon were going to be worthless to me. Excepting the daily cooldown and 5k gold cost; chromatic seal upgrades of named items is the "cheat" of end game progression.
Don't get me wrong: I don't mind folks being able to get into end game gear quickly but like the other day where I completed multiple M2 expeditions (the 2nd hardest content in the end game) and I am staring at a pile of 25+ legendary items that I will never use, never sell, and in turn will just scrap. The simple change of the kiln upgrades not skipping to 700 GS would make many of those 25+ legendary drops possible useful drops.
Again, I want to emphasize that I like where the game is at with progression. It is easier and faster than ever before to get into new end game builds. However, it is not much of "progression" system... it is very much "skip to the end" just like the last system with waiting to upgrade from 600 to 625 via umbrals... just now its dark matter and named items.
Thursday, November 23, 2023
Jumped into a corrupted invasion last night in New World. This game mode makes for some epic screenshots. We were shorthanded and didn't fill out the roster so lost the invasion in the end but it was fun. Invasions are also a great source for dark matter; even with a loss I netted 40!
|Foreground: 2 brutes and a bear on Gate A!!!|
Background: Giant laser eyes on another gate!!!
Bonus screenshot sitting in my mess of a house (poorly decorated by me) in Ebonscale Reach.