Monday, December 05, 2022

Ashes of Creation December Update in which we see boob armor

 The Ashes of Creation update for December is out and featured a look at the day/night cycle in the game and some group combat focused on the supporting cleric class.  Watch the update below and read on for my thoughts.

 The first thing I want to say is: combat didn't look great.  Janky movement, attacks that seem to take player characters all over the place, and way-over-the-top sound (he did mess with his sound settings in the video so not sure if that was part of it or not).  Effects do not fit the visual style of the rest of the world or what enemies are doing.  I had more hope after the combat update but many this was a step back from that point.

 The second thing I want to say is: everything not combat looked amazing.  The world. The constellation system.  The transition from day to night.  Everything else is so damn amazing.  It is so crazy to me how combat is where it is at but the rest of the game is where it is at.

 Specific to what was shown off about the cleric it was a bit hard to follow as I think UI elements were missing to help understand the concept of "convictions".  From the discussion it sounds like you build up convictions and that improves

 There was also discussion of synergy between party members with a stagger mechanic that unlocked another player to be able to stun the targets.  I replayed it a few times and not sure I could tell what stagger looked like or how you'd know they were staggered.  Hopefully they improve this aspect as combat systems with poor feedback to the player, or overly expect a player to know a bunch of nuances, never work.

 Another concern I had was that the group had to take a dedicated break to rest to regain mana.  It sounds like with different set ups and higher levels there is regen but the fact there is resting needed is a bit worrying.  In today's game market most games are moving as far away from downtime as possible.  I like that the team talked about items like campfires that could improve the rest experience.

 One really cool thing was how sometimes enemies pop up out of the ground.  There really was a sense of an ambush at one point.  This was very similar to the combat update where the rock monsters popped out of the environment.

 The only worry I have with the spawn system is they may be overusing the "pop out of the ground" spawning system.  I know Steven has said he wants to avoid the "enemies just standing around" model but if its just "enemies always pop out of the ground" model then is anything really different other than increased player frustration of not being able to trust the world around you?  For the record the only two spawn types we've seen in updates is pop out of the ground and standing around.

 One other thing I want to comment around combat is that I felt there was a lack of weight to the feeling of combat.  When the party was fighting larger enemies I did not get a sense that the enemy was, in this case, a large rock enemy.  It sort of stopped whenever a player was reached.  I expected more chaos similar to the cave troll scene from Lord of the Rings movies, but got more of a Steven Seagal karate demonstration.

 There were some UI elements; mainly health bars and a skills bar.  They looked clean and hit the MMO standard, so not much to say about them.

 Something I also caught during the video was the player mount staying around after dismounting.  I really like the idea of mounts persisting after dismount.  I hope this is something they are keeping.

 Steven talked about diminishing returns regarding status conditions (slow, root, silence, etc).  Glad to hear this as its an area that games miss on.  No player likes to repeatedly lose agency (i.e. control) and diminishing returns are a great way to ensure someone doesn't end up in the dreaded stunlock.  This is something New World has struggled with for example.  Again, good to know its being tackled out of the gate.

 Steven asked for feedback on if players wanted night to be complete darkness or whether they should reserve true dark for specific areas (like a cave encounter).  I have fond memories of true dark nights before I knew about screen brightness, but in the modern gaming era it is too easy to cheat real dark out of it's effect.  Thus my feedback is: no true dark, anywhere.

 Also Steven asked about luminosity during open world gameplay.  My feedback here is that the clearer it is the better.  I dislike dreary area after dreary area.  Let all areas be mostly clear during the daytime hours and minimize how often we have to deal with dreariness.  Basically let me have Hobbiton as much as possible!

 And I'll leave you with this last comment: boob armor.

 Did you catch the boob armor? Either way go ahead and leave a comment.

Sunday, December 04, 2022

Sunday 12/4/2022 Post

 Say it with me: THE BEARS STILL SUCK

Slimmest of play off hopes still alive.

Woot! Supporting the team in Battlefield 2042!

 I had a great match this morning in Battlefield 2042 playing Irish stopping explosives and getting assists.  I may average just below 1:1 kill vs death, but I can support the team like a champ.  It is awesome that 2042 rewards support and reserves a billboard spot at the end of the match for the top assists. 

My first "Most Assists" award!

Look at all those explosives destroyed.. 83!

Game mode was Breakthrough on the Spearhead map.

Saturday, December 03, 2022

Day 5: Battlefield 2042 Impressions (What does the future hold for Battlefield 2042?)

 I am going to wrap up my Battlefield 2042 impressions posts with a look at what's coming next since EA posted their "Battlefield Briefing – First Look at 2023" post.  I am going to stick with the game because I am enjoying it.  So much so that I bought the current battle pass.  Now that I am invested I am keenly interested in the future and whats next for the game.

 The biggest takeaway from the post is that there will be a Season 5 and Season 4 is primed for a launch in early 2023.  There was some concerns due to the poor launch of the game that EA would wrap it all up after season 4; essentially abandoning the game after only one short year.  Only season 5 was mentioned so that is not a commitment to more than a few months but it seems like it is the first light that the 2042 community has seen in a while.

 The next big item was the confirmation the class reintroduction will occur in update 3.2.

Update 3.2 will be a big one for us with the reintroduction of Classes to Battlefield 2042. All our existing Specialists will be placed within defined roles with a set of gadgets and equipment that best suit their purpose on the battlefield. 

 This is a massive change for the game and will bring it back to the model of all Battlefield games of the past.  While I wasn't playing prior to Season 3 my understanding is the original Specialist system was too far removed from what is expected of a Battlefield game and contributed to a lot of the "WTF" reviews of the original version.  Since launch its been a steady crawl back to the tried and true concept of Assault > Medic > Engineer > Recon.  I look forward to see what this shapes into.

 Also mentioned are new maps and map reworks.  I have mostly played Spearhead in my short stint so can't comment on the reworks.  Community sentiment seems to be that the team is focused on the right maps to rework and there is excitement around possible new maps.

 One area that was not mentioned was Battlefield Portal. I would have thought there would be a call out for whats next with Portal.  It seems like a cool concept and my few forays into I've found fun little game modes to give a try.  I wonder if its not a key feature at this point?  Not sure.

 If you are interested in giving Battlefield 2042 a try the game is free to play until Dec 5th.

 Have some thoughts about this First Look at 2023?  Share a comment.

Friday, December 02, 2022

You won't believe whats coming next to New World! PvP players will be pissed!

 The New World December Dev update video is out and with it comes Roadmap 2.0.  You won't believe whats in it! Read on (or watch the embedded video) to find out and I'll also share some of my thoughts.

 First, apologies for the click-bait lead in but it was purposeful.  The first thing to note about the Roadmap 2.0 what was shared in the update is it is pretty much what was expected.  Nothing surprising or exciting.  It was a confirmation of "we are going to do what we said we were going to do".  Let's take a look at the Roadmap 2.0 as thats where I want to focus my thoughts.

 Unlike the first roadmap that covered an entire year this roadmap is only half a year.  I am good with that as it will give us something to look forward to later in the year.  Also doesn't commit the team to things that may or may not be relevant in a few months time.

 The first item on the roadmap that I want to shout "HELL YES!" about is the Spring 2023 "Gear Set Storage System".  This is the number one item on my list of features for this game.  I would do more content more often if it was easier to change out my gear.  While I have previously stated I was fine with "using a spreadsheet" that has worn on me; it still takes 10+ minutes to make the changes to other gear sets to swap to different content.  Thus I just stick in my PvP gear for the build-of-the-moment and then shrug my shoulders at the thought of not doing PvP content.  Yet I have half a dozen PvE sets ready to go for any sort of PvE content. 

 Spring 2023 also includes a new expedition.  I know this pissed of some PvP players to see another PvE expedition and no PvP-specific content, but I like it.  I really enjoy New World's expeditions.  The more the better.   I would have liked to see "and we will have cross server expeditions" as part of this road map but understand that is going to take time (note: they have said they are working towards it).  I play on a high population legacy server so getting groups is not really a problem.

 MSQ Improvements is also on the Spring 2023 portion of the road map.  Not excited about this at all.  I get why they are doing it since they revamped the level 1-25 portion, but as I wasn't too impressed by the new experience so I really don't think it merits more work.  Yet, for new players coming to the game it makes complete sense so I'll just say "OK" to it.

 In the Summer 2023 category of "HELL YES!" is the transmog system.  Having played Guild Wars 2 - aka Fashion Wars 2 - I look forward to besting enemies on the field of battle dressed as a chef.  Also there sounds like there will be a collection aspect to this so you can "check the box" on all the transmog skins you have collected.  I like making sure boxes are checked.

 Also in Summer 2023 are raid groups and the first "raid" (aka elite trial as they are calling it).  We will finally get to go beyond 5-player groups and also get to take on the giant sandworm that tremors around Brimstone Sands.  The worm will supposedly be the "hardest PvE content" they've delivered requiring maxed out gear and solid coordination.  That will probably limit how much I get into it because that's not really my thing in MMORPGs; I am the guy that likes to squash regular expeditions in my full 625 GS sets.  But I was also not a huge "dungeon" player before New World and yet I've found myself from time to time doing a lot of "dungeons" in New World  (at least more than I did in games like World of Warcraft).

 Then last but not least on the Summer 2023 hype train is Cross World Outpost Rush.  HELL YES!  HELL FREAKING YES!  I love OPR (Outpost Rush) more than any other game mode in New World.  Even on populated servers it doesn't always mean there are 40 interested players to get an OPR started.  Cross server will solve this and I suspect lay the ground work for future cross server content like expeditions.  Any PvP player complaining about this road map is not recognizing how key cross server OPR is to getting better PvP game play out of New World.  PvP players should be hanging their hats on this roadmap item!

 Speaking of PvP players one item NOT on this roadmap is ranked PvP arenas.  One would have thought that ranked PvP arenas would be right up there as "next" on the list of things to do but here we are and its not listed.  Does it mean it won't happen? No, they could fit it in under the "additional content with each release" disclaimer.  Personally I think it speaks to something about arenas: they just aren't where it is at for this game.  

 The game just doesn't shine in 3v3 arenas in my experience.  I play a ton of solo queue arenas but that is mostly because I play in small increments and can't wait out an OPR queue.  Once cross server OPR exists I probably won't do 3v3 arenas except to get my gypsum.  3v3 arenas are more often frustrating than rewarding; rare is the competitive match and "competitive" matches I've watched from the good 3v3 teams are long drawn out messes of who gets lucky enough first.  I will repeat it: competitive 3v3 arenas are NOT where its at for New World.

 To recap the roadmap: we are getting what Amazon Game Studios said we would be getting.  Mainly that was more expeditions, gear set management, transmog, and raids (elite trials).  This likely pisses off PvP players, but what doesn't piss those players off?  For the sometimes PvP and sometimes PvE players that make up the bulk of this game the road map is spot on.  Way to go AGS!

 What are your thoughts?  Share a comment.

Thursday, December 01, 2022

Day 4: Battlefield 2042 Impressions (Proximity Sensor)

 For my fourth day of Battlefield 2042 impressions I unlocked the proximity sensor (grenade).  To be honest it feels a bit like cheating but is also so critical to helping a team root out the enemy.  When thrown this grenade senses enemy players and displays the on the minimap.  When defending this helps know where players are coming from and when attacking this helps know where they are defending.  Proximity sensors are easily the best supporting feature I bring to the battlefield for my team.

 I can't imagine playing the game without proximity sensors now and it is a constant flood of experience gained for spotting enemies and getting assists when they get killed.  Throw a sensor into a contested control point and watch the assists and "enemy spotted" experience roll in. 

 I am still playing Irish as my main specialist and with his ability to stop explosives getting tossed/shot in combined with proximity sensors I am consistently closing in on the top of the leaderboard each match and getting the satisfaction of seeing my team perform better.  I will admit I suck at the shooting aspect of the game so it warms my heart that I can contribute so effectively playing Irish with proximity sensors.  Toss an ammo box to resupply the team and I'm one happy camper.

 For context in my all-time favorite Battlefield game, Battlefield 2, I was a medic or engineer most of the time.  Either I was healing/reviving players or smacking vehicles with wrenches.  Being able to play as this support play style is what always attracted me to Battlefield games over other shooters and it is definitely happening again here with Battlefield 2042!

 This also has me jazzed up about other gadgets and specialists I have yet to play with and I can't wait for the next "aha!" moment!  I can feel the Battlefield teeth sinking in; so much so I didn't even log into New World to do daily activities... which is the first day in a while I have not logged into New World!

 Hate the "wall hack" proximity sensors?  Or do you tell players to "get gud"?  Leave a comment so my comment sensor beeps.

Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Day 3: Battlefield 2042 Impressions (Tweakin')

 For my third day of Battlefield 2042 I did some tweakin' of my settings.  I mostly followed this guide on YouTube (embedded below as well).

The most helpful tweaks to improve my Battlefield 2042 experience were:

  • Field of view recommendation around 90.  I was going max 105, but 90 (or 89 recommended in the video)
  • Low video settings still look really, really good and the frame rate increase is noticeable.  I am actually a little shocked at how good it looks on low settings.
  • Showing all kills in the kill feed; was surprised that is not the default setting
  • Hud icons!  Holy crap!  Being able to hide objective icons when zoomed in is so nice.  Being able to make sure enemies show up more bold while shrinking/hiding friendly hud icons is also great.  Lots of tweaking to do here!

Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Day 2: Battlefield 2042 Impressions (Breakthrough, Irish, and the Rorsch Mk-4 Railgun)

 For my second day of Battlefield 2042 I decided to take a journey into a new game mode, Breakthrough, but stuck to the new map, Spearhead, that came with Season 3.  I like to learn a map before jumping to other maps.  Also I am enjoying Spearhead a good bit.

 Breakthrough is a good fit for the new map as its a linear game mode where an attacking team starts on one end and pushes to the other end in sequence (meaning there is no jumping over the current objectives and back capping).  This leads to a more defined "front line" for fighting and I found it a more enjoyable mode than Conquest for this map.  I spent a lot less time getting shot in the back.

 I also figured out some nuance in the control and the ability to change between my attachments.  This is a nice quality of life change from many other games where these sorts of systems require you to make the change outside the game mode. Now I can easily change between scope one and two to fit the current need on the battlefield which fits perfectly with the new map as players transition from outdoor fighting to close-quarters-combat in the factory buildings.

 I am also spending time as other specialists (Day 1 was all Boris). I really like Irish as I am a defensive player by nature (i.e. my aim and reflexes suck so I am better at supporting the team).  One item that I've become very fond of is Irish's APS-36 Shootdown Sentinel (deploy a trophy system that intercepts enemy explosives).  In a single round last night I stopped 96 explosives... which is a bit crazy as each one of those may have been something that killed myself or a team mate.  

 Irish also can pop up defensive shields on the battlefield and combined with a sniper rifle can allow for some unique "sentinel" (apparently Call of Duty's term for campers and I am stealing it) scenarios.  This also gave me a chance to try the new Rorsch Mk-4 Railgun as a sniper rifle.  The weapon takes a bit to get used to but with its chance at landing one hit kills and its pinpoint laser accuracy (i.e. almost zero projectile drop at range) I can see now why so many players are using it.

 I am trying to avoid getting sucked into one specialist as I do want to give more a try, but Irish is really fun and Boris was fun before him.  Zain, the new Season 3 specialist, is likely the next on my list to try just to jump on the bandwagon of trying all the new stuff while everyone else is.

 Who's your favorite specialist?  Whats your favorite game mode: breakthrough or conquest?  Leave a comment!


Monday, November 28, 2022

Sunday 11/27/2022 Post

 Relationship ended with Aaron Rodgers.

 Relationship started with Jordan Love.

 End result still the same.


Sunday, November 27, 2022

Day 1: Battlefield 2042 Initial Impressions

 I grabbed Battlefield 2042 on sale for $20 and jumped into Conquest on the new Spearhead map.  While memories of Battlefield 2 (my all time favorite in the series) didn't come flooding back 2042 definitely caught my attention.  The visuals are beautiful and the gun play is sufficient.  Here are some other thoughts after a few hours of play on Day 1.

 Being late to the party and knowing most modern Battlefield games rely on progression systems I was prepared to have limited options and that is spot on for 2042.  I had basic weapons without any unlocks.  The first few matches felt a little oppressive as I found myself constantly getting one shot while being unable to take down targets even when I got the jump on them.  

 It turns out this was mostly just an experience with the new rail sniper rifle being strong at one-shot kills and the fact I needed to be more evasive so I wasn't an easy sniper target.  Once more comfortable with the Spearhead map and getting with some better squad mates my kill:death ration improved and I made my way through some unlocks and a few new weapons.

 I do want to mention that the user interface for managing weapons and their load outs is confusing.  It is not clear at all what you have equipped.  There seems like there are multiple slots per weapon part (for example; three slots for scopes/sights) but no explanation of how/which one is active or if there is some way to swap between them in game.  I eventually somehow got the scope I wanted to try in the first slot so just left it there.  Over all the user interface in many areas is confusing.

 Vehicles were also all sorts of confusing and I decided I'll need to spend some time on YouTube to understand these near-future vehicles better and their weapon systems. For example riding shotgun with a squadmate in some sort of SUV-looking vehicle I manned some form of camera with two abilities.  Nothing is explained in the UI on what either of them do.  Then at multiple points I fell victim to vehicles parked on top of the large "cube" buildings on the Spearhead map.  No idea how they are getting there or how the roof supports such large weights.

 Speaking of roofs that should be collapsing there was a definite lack of damage happening on the map.  Some of my fondest memories in Battlefield were in Bad Company 2 where by the end of the match each progressive conquest point was leveled with barely a building left standing.  For the most part in 2042 other than the obvious expendables like piles of wooden crates nothing seems to take much damage.  This leads to some on-rails corridor game play without any of the fun Battlefield work-arounds of blowing out a wall to get behind your opponent.

 There is a specialist system that is new to the Battlefield series.  From what I hear it is a shadow of its launch version and has been re-worked significantly for this most recent major patch (3.0).  The main take away I got from it is that each specialist comes with a unique gadget.  I stuck to the initial specialist I was dropped into, Boris, and his automated turret.  The turret was fun to place and great for helping spot enemy movement.  I will have to take some time to look into other specialists.

 Along with specialists are your standard build outs of assault, engineer, medic, and sniper.  The load outs are really just placeholders in name as a sniper can carry an ammo pouch and a medic can carry a sniper rifle and anyone can revive a player (not just medics).  I believe this is just a halfway state to their entire rebuild of the specialist system.  This is an area Battlefield honestly doesn't need to screw around with.  It has been tried and true for years and not sure why they decided 2042 was the game to screw around with it.

 There is a lot going on with this game and I just scratched the surface day 1.  There looks to be a lot of depth and complexity to the specialists and tuning your weapons.  I have some ideas on weapons I want to work towards and need to spend some time figuring out how to get there most efficiently.  Then there are the vehicles I mentioned.  

 Also an option called "Battlefield Portal" caught my eye.  Apparently it allows players to create custom game modes and mix'n'match content from Battlefield 1942, Battlefield Bad Company 2, Battlefield 3, and 2042.  That means you could have a Spitfire facing off against a F22 Raptor!  This looked very promising and warrants some further investigation.

 Over all I enjoyed Day 1 in Battlefield 2042.  I definitely feel like I will get my moneys worth out of the game and it feels good to be back in a Battlefield game.  Have you given the game a try? Were you there for it's rocky launch?  Share a comment.