Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Steam Backlog: Batman: Arkham Asylum

Dark... Black

 Batman: Arkham Asylum, of which I played 9 hours, was fun.  It landed at a point in my life where I had just become a new father and I started spending more time in singleplayer offline games than I did in online multiplayer games.  I never beat the game, but do have fond memories of it.

 Like other games I did not choose to revisit Arkham so just going to share some thoughts (see past posts tagged Batman:AA).

 The first memory that jumps back to me is "dark... black".  The game hit the mark for the cliche Batman "black".  Everything is dark and brooding.  I don't think "daylight" or "bright light" exist in the Asylum.

 I also remember the combat and it was fun; albeit I do remember it being a little harder to master on keyboard/mouse than I expected.  That did push me away from finishing the game (as well as having a young kiddo taking up my free time).  With more time this is one I'd probably revisit to finish at some point.

This post is part of my running series: My Steam Backlog (see all MySteamBacklog tagged posts).

Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Steam Backlog: Bastion

Narrator Narrates

 I played Bastion for six hours when it came out and I loved every minute of it.  It is not a game I chose to revisit and play as part of my Steam backlog journey but it brought back lots of fond memories (see all posts tagged Bastion).

 The most memorable aspect of Bastion was the narrator.  It narrates every action the player takes and makes it feel like it was designed commentary when it is actually dynamic; ever-changing based on what the player is doing.

 "The boy moves forward to smash the thing."

 "The boy smashes the thing."

 I didn't have to smash it.  Did it know I was going to smash it?  Was it leading me along?  The narration is phenomenal in that regard and I can still hear the voice in my head.  The game world, story, and combat itself was a ton of fun, but the narrator put it over the top.

 At one point the game had me thinking hard about MMOs as well.  Narration was a big idea; Bastion showed me that dynamic narration can work and that is exactly the type of narration an MMO would need.  Then more aspects of the game spilled out of my brain into that blog post and if you told me tomorrow that a Bastion MMORPG was being developed I would be the first person in line.  So much of Bastion make sense for an MMORPG.

 Now that I've written this post I think I may have to revisit this gem!

 This post is part of my running series: My Steam Backlog (see all MySteamBacklog tagged posts).

Monday, March 20, 2023

Steam Backlog: Among Us


 I will admit that I joined the bandwagon when Among Us swung back around in popularity well after it's original launch.  I think it was AOC streaming it during the 2020 presidential run that really hooked me.  We play a lot of hidden role board and card games in our house and I played a bunch of Town of Salem so I felt right at home in Among Us.

 The initial run was great, but I never got anything going with any gamer groups which I think is why I didn't spend more than a couple hours stabbing/getting stabbed by random internet strangers.  Eventually I found it more entertaining to watch groups play than to play myself.

 Among Us.  Fun for a few, but otherwise a flash in my Steam backlog.

 This post is part of my running series: My Steam Backlog (see all MySteamBacklog tagged posts).

Sunday, March 19, 2023

Diablo 4 sounding good

On vacation but reading blurbs on Diablo 4 and seems the vibes are positive.  May check it out.

Saturday, March 18, 2023

Diablo 4?

diablo 4
Should I Play Diablo 4?

 So Diablo 4 is coming out soon.  Should I play?  I honestly don't know much about the game.  If you have a thought leave a comment.

Friday, March 17, 2023


Rodgers news before I get back?

 Getting ready for a little vacation here.  I wonder if we'll have final Rodgers news before I get back?

aaron rodgers jets

Wednesday, March 15, 2023

Ranting at the end of the world: The Last Of Us Episode 9 (Show + Podcast)

Episode 9: Giraffes!

 Spoilers... duh.

 The dude did not cover baby Ellie's ears up.

 The hint that the timing and circumstances of Ellie's birth is why she is immune is as dumb of a solution as that vampire movie where they found the cure to being a vampire by the dude flying through his windshield and being burned by the sun and that specific duration of sun exposure is a vampire cure.

 Giraffes.  Because apparently people are hungry enough to eat each other but not hungry enough to eat giraffes that apparently have no fear of humans.

 Joel in earlier episodes: losing hearing, "losing my edge", gets easily flanked.  Joel in episode 9: terminator.

 The doctor's and nurses didn't hear WWIII breaking out in the hospital?  Ellie clearly wasn't that important if no one was left to guard her.  Good try by the doctor though; he almost had Joel there.

 Excellent! Another functional vehicle for Joel to escape in.

 Ellie might be developing trust issues.

 I don't think Joel is the good guy.

 The podcast did nothing to help

 Oh so now we want to go back to Tommy's place and be safe?  Should make for another season of "Finding Tommy".


Tuesday, March 14, 2023

theHunter: Showcase Update

Call of the Showcase!

 theHunter: Call of the Wild (don't worry I get confused to on what part comes first; theHunter or the CotW) has released it's Showcase Update. I enjoy this game but don't follow it closely.  What I wanted to check out with this update were a) the free trophy lodge, b) gear load outs, and c) the change to spook range.  So I jumped in and shot some animals.

Promo image for the new lodge

 I already owned a lodge (which I bought as an add on) so the lodge system was not new to me.  I am glad to see that they've added a free lodge because it's a great part of the game that every player should get a chance at without having to buy extra.  While I don't make my lodge public it is fun to browse through my lodge every time I revisit the game (and this is a regular on my "return to" list).

 I jumped in and checked out the lodge and the free lodge is amazing.  Forget for a moment the trophy slots and just the visuals (see the promo screenshot above) of this lodge are spectacular.  It feels like the quintessential hunting lodge: rustic, wood everywhere, and all the accessories.  I loved it so much I had to grab a trophy from my main lodge and slap it over the fireplace.

My trophy moose in the new lodge

 Next on the list to check out was gear load outs. 

Spend less time prepping and more time hunting with Loadouts

Shorten the time between hunts by saving your favorite configurations of weapons and equipment into different loadouts. You can switch between them at any time by heading to your nearest Cache.

 I will admit my interest was influenced by the drama from New World over gear sets coming in the New World March update.   Combine that with Ashes of Creation recently talking about user interface and gear sets as part of the interface and it seems like gear sets are all the rage in my gaming circle.

 Load outs (yes with a space; what the bleep is the problem with these devs and using spaces properly... the SPACE Hunter.... load SPACE outs) are a great addition to theHunter.  I will admit that I have never sang the praises of the UI in theHunter; getting gear from storage and into your inventory is a nightmare at times.  I can't tell you how many times I've gone into the field without the right ammo, guns, or accessories.  

 Players get 5 load outs to start and 5 more can be unlocked for a total of 10.  This feels like the right number for the way the game is designed.  The average hunter needs load outs for small, medium, and large game animals so 3 was the minimum.  Throw in that most folks like to dabble with bow and then most of us have our "fun" load out (like black powder) and five meets most players at how they play the game.  *cough* New World developers can take note on this front *cough*

 Lastly the spook range changes

 The distances at which animals will spook when hearing gunshots have been adjusted.

 Not a lot of detail to go on.  After reviewing the community feedback it seems like the range is shorter (i.e. less likely to spook).  I nabbed about five harvests when I played earlier and it did seem like nearby members of the same herd were less likely to bolt when you nabbed their friend.  I could not tell if I was spooking them less by my movement but I am also lazy and sprint/4-wheel all over the place.

 Jumping back in and stalking some animals reminded me how much I enjoy this game.  The visuals are great and the hunting balances perfectly between realism and arcade.  I've bought quite a few add-ons now for the game but I feel like I've gotten more than my money's worth from every one.  If you haven't tried the game out I'd highly recommend it!

Monday, March 13, 2023

My Steam Backlog

steam games buy but dont ever play

Time to Play the Backlog?

 Does anyone ever look at the LIBRARY tab of their Steam client and wonder what is all hiding under it?  If it is anything like mine it is a long list of games you've bought and never played (or barely played).  I've been contemplating working through this backlog.

 It is actually a bit crazy when I look and see the size is 150+!  Some of this is sprawl from games I've tried over time, but the majority are games I've bought and quite a few that haven't gotten much attention (some not at all!).

 A quick shuffle through the list and by my count I have not played approximately 40 of the titles!  That is 25% of games I've bought that I've never played.  There is a much longer list of games that have been installed and played but not for any length of time.

 So I am considering reviewing this backlog with a few goals in mind:

  • Create a blog post for each game (which may include its expansions)
  • If I played the game already it will just be about memories from the game
  • If I haven't played the game or didn't play it enough to get a sense for it then I will play the game before posting.  Goal will be at least 1 hour.
  • Create some videos along the way

 This is also cheat mode for next week when I will be away from posting.  I will queue up a few posts from the backlog.

 Do you play your Steam backlog?  If so; leave a comment!

Friday, March 10, 2023

Having Fun In 2042

Topping the Scoreboard In Battlefield 2042

 I've been enjoying Season 4 of Battlefield 2042.  The game is in a really good spot.  I wanted to take a break from my normal "support" role and play the more aggressive play style with the Assault class and specialists.  I've become a big fan of Zain and landed some great matches; either topping the scoreboard or landing in the top squads.

 While I am more "aggressive" playing assault I am still "support" in my non-existent heart so I spend a lot of time watching flanks for the team.  It is surprising how many kills you can get when you learn the spots where better players flank and just wait for them.  They never expect someone to be waiting for them and I have been able to wipe entire squads.

 Oh and the new sticky grenade is mucho fun.

heartlessgamer battlefield 2042 scoreboard
Look Mom! First place again!


battlefield 2042 squad 1st place
Look Mom! The team carried me!

battlefield 2042 squad 2nd place
2nd place is the first loser... err wait!

Thursday, March 09, 2023

Third Times the Charm

New World Devs Flop Flip

 And Nope. Ok Maybe? Just a little bit more.  


new world devs ummm ok

 There we go!  Third time's the charm!

 Not as good as the original patch note or the second patch note, but better than nothing.

Wednesday, March 08, 2023

A big loss for the MMORPG community

Ghostcrawler Steps Down

 Unfortunate news; Ghostcrawler is stepping down from Riot Games and thus stepping away from the Riot MMORPG that was in development.  A big loss for the MMORPG community.

ghostcrawler tweet about stepping down

 Ghostcrawler, of World of Warcraft fame, was seen as one of the few lead voices in the MMORPG space.  Similar to the "Yoshi P" of Final Fantasy 14 or Steven Sharif of Ashes of Creation: single people that the community puts on a pedestal above all other developers.

riot games
 Also Ghostcrawler leading a new MMORPG project for a company that has the resources that Riot Games has was a promising combination.  League of Legends (Riot's flagship) is massive and building an MMO from it's already established world is promising.  Ghostcrawler was icing on the top of the cake.  He made us all feel better about this massive undertaking and it being done right.

 It will be sad to see him gone from Riot and will no doubt cast more doubt on the legitimacy of Riot's MMORPG.  The game was confirmed as in development but never promised it would make it to the finish line.  Ghostcrawler being gone is a strike against it.

Tuesday, March 07, 2023

Ashes of Creation Monthly Update

Ashes of Screenshots!

 Ashes of Creation's monthly update focused on the user interface (UI) and it featured screenshots!  I used an exclamation point so I must be excited.  Right?  You may want to read on.

  I know, I know!  Ashes of Creation is a work in progress so if I don't want to follow a game in development then I shouldn't follow it.  I shouldn't be here complaining about it either but if you know me then you know I can't help myself.

 The reason I choose to dig into Ashes of Creation is twofold.  One: it is the promised one; the savior of this MMORPG genre that I love so dearly.  Two: it has no issue taking money from people all while saying it doesn't need our money.  If a game developer can take the time to sell calendars for an unreleased game then it can stand up to some criticism about taking its damn sweet time to release a game.

 Ashes is under a glacially slow pace of development.  Years (yes, years) ago you could buy the "indie studio" but Interpid Studios is way past being a small indie game developer.  Ashes makes a lot of promises and yet shows very, very little in their updates which is concerning for a game this long in the pipeline.

 Which brings me to my main gripe: Ashes should be showing us more at this point.  If they can't then this game is so far out in the future we shouldn't be talking about it and the team definitely shouldn't be wasting cycles on calendars or monthly live streams.  

 Look at Pax Dei coming out of left field and generating buzz and showing more in a short intro video than the entirety of six years of Ashes updates.  Pax Dei seems much closer to an alpha than Ashes.  This may seem a poor comparison.  How long has Pax Dei been in development?  This is a fair criticism, but Pax Dei isn't asking for my money and isn't clogging up my feeds with lackluster updates.  If Pax Dei hits the 6 year mark of monthly updates without showing anything close to a finished game then we can revisit it.

 Back to Ashes.  

 As with the recent class updates the UI update this month was a typical lackluster update.  A developer was brought on and talked about their team and their approach. Then some screenshots were shown of different UI components which were followed by yet more screenshots of sample user interface windows which were followed by... more screenshots.  

 I don't think once during the UI update we saw an actual functioning UI overlaying a game being played.  That is concerning.  There is a place for showing the static components of a UI, but the magic of a UI is seeing it and how it interlaces with the underlying game.  How a UI functions is as critical as how it looks.  All we got from this update was how it may look because we didn't actually see it in the game.

 There has been a lot of praise in the Ashes community around this update and how "good" the UI looks.  I am not sure if these folks are playing ancient games or are that detached from current offerings, but the UI screenshots shown were as generic of a UI as I could imagine.  There was nothing to write home about.  If anything I'd of said the UI is a little too artsy; I prefer a utilitarian approach.  The game can be beautiful and awe inspiring, but the UI needs to be functional.

 If it's not clear; I was not impressed.  This adds to the mounting concern I have about Ashes.  Each update is lacking in substance on the promised topic.  We had an entire UI update and didn't see the UI being used.  We heard more about promises of the UI: customization, sizing, and accordions.  Did we see these in action? No.  It is like anything else with Ashes: promises.  Promises that may or may not be delivered.  This was not an update that screams to me that the game is approaching any state of release.

 Let me know how wrong I am by leaving a comment.


Monday, March 06, 2023

Ranting at the end of the world: The Last Of Us Episode 8 (Show)

Episode 8: Apocalyptic Bingo!

 Spoilers... duh.

 I don't need the podcast to break down this one.  Congratulations to everyone that had cannibalism on your apocalyptic bingo cards!  Game players knew we would get here but it was a shocking awakening for TV-only viewers.  Episode 8 was an uncomfortable episode to watch, but don't worry Joel is back so we're good.

 I will have to admit that the show got the pacing and tension-building right in this episode (a top critique of mine for past episodes).  This episode had a solid reveal going from a "something's not right here" to "oh sh!t!" in a slow, dreadful series of events.  It is unfortunate it had to feature a miraculous recovery by Joel that required viewers to suspend disbelief yet again in a show that does nothing but expect viewers to suspend disbelief.

 Also I am not sure if this is what the show was going for, but in an episode starting out with bible reading isn't it cliche our savior Joel rises from the dead.  Anyone that thought Joel was ever in any danger (or Ellie for that matter) has never played a video game with side quests.

 I do want to harp on the "sense of danger".  As uncomfortable as this episode was to watch it was more from the creep factor than it was from any sense that something bad would happen to our main characters Joel and Ellie.  Like a video game its just a case of finishing the side quest to get on with the main story.

 Can we dispense with the cannibalism as well please? It is uncomfortable to watch and detracted from an otherwise great tension builder of the creepy preacher targeting a young girl.  We could have gotten all of the drama of this episode without taking the cannibalism.

 Anyways, Joel is back to a full healthbar so on to new adventures.

Saturday, March 04, 2023

Pax Dei

Pax Dei mmo
New MMO on the block

Pax Dei is generating a lot of buzz, and in my opinion, it should serve as a warning to games like Ashes of Creation. The first trailer offers a glimpse of combat and the user interface, all from the perspective of the in-game engine. If games like Ashes don't launch soon, titles like Pax Dei may swoop in and steal their audience. The first look of Pax Dei is pretty impressive, and it has convinced me to join the queue for alpha access.

 Not only were the visuals striking, which is to be expected with the Unreal Engine, but I felt like shots were taken at games like Ashes that have been hesitant to show combat and user interface as both were featured in the Pax Dei release trailer.  Granted it is not in depth but it gives me hope the game is further along than just being a set of ideas.

 Also impressive in the video was the support for cross platform.  They showed the game on a tablet which is exciting.  I don't do much gaming on mobile platforms but that is because most games don't offer it as a supported option; the more I see games like this support it the closer I get to jumping into gaming on something other than my big rig.

 I didn't know this game was out there working its way towards an alpha, but after the trailer and some of the interview videos I am firmly in the camp of "excited to see what comes next".  Again, I got the sense Pax Dei is closer to reality than games that suck up a lot of community buzz currently and the MMO market is ripe for some disruption.

Friday, March 03, 2023

Ranting at the end of the world: The Last Of Us Episode 7 (Show + Podcast)

Last of us? Or the last of flashbacks!?

 Spoilers... duh.

 Flashback episode! You know; because the show was over when we found Tommy last episode so we needed something to make more episodes out of.

 One of my main issues with the show is the representation of the world "20 years later" and this episode did nothing to quiet the screaming in my head.  These folks are awfully lucky that everything just keeps on working 20 years later.  Just throw the switch and every light, arcade cabinet, and whatever buzzes to life.  There is no chance over the 20 something years since the world collapsed that any of the items in a mall would have been scavenged.

 One major issue I have with the show is its lack of ability to build tension. Although I will admit that the mall was a pretty cool setting, we knew something related to the infected would happen since the show is too formulaic to let the infected not ruin the moment. However, the show fails to put the pieces together in any sort of dramatic way.

 Similar to Episode 5, the big showdown at the end of the episode gets minimal setup, and when a single infected interrupts, it feels like nothing more than a reason to ruin the moment. In the game, as I gathered from the podcast for this episode, there are multiple fighting sequences in the mall. These fighting scenes give weight between "scenes" and help build tension.

 In the show we get a quick cut of an infected coming to life (which is baffling; in prior episode these static mushroomed infected are NOT a concern at all) and a couple doom-y camera pans, but otherwise there is not much more going on here than a trip to the mall until a rustling is heard.

 In the show the more the infected show up the more it makes me as a viewer laugh at "what the heck is this infection?  People are really scared of this?".  Again, these mushroom sprouted dead bodies were of no concern just a couple episodes ago but now are coming back to life.  How hard was it to just have an infected stuck in a closet that they opened?  Give us a jump scare after making us feel safe all episode.  We didn't need a poorly "whats that noise" character moment when we knew what the noise was.

 What about Joel?  Sorry, almost forgot we left the last episode on a cliff hanger in the present timeline.  Glad the episode sorted that out and that he will be OK after a gnarly stitch job by Ellie.  I am sure Joel will be back to normal next week. This game, err show, really does love the cliche "video game solutions" whether a flashback scene or a magical cure all solution scavenged nearby.

Thursday, March 02, 2023

Some Fun in 2042

Some fun in Battlefield 2042 Season 4

 Patch 4.0 is out and Season 4 is here.  A couple screenshots from last night's session.

battlefield 2042 scoreboard
LOOK MOM!!!! I'm in first place!

most revives battlefield 2042
I'll pick you up when you are down (seriously it's what I love to do!)

Wednesday, March 01, 2023

Ok Maybe?

New World devs flip flop

 In my And Nope post the news broke that New World would not be introducing the ability to upgrade 590+ randomized epic (purple) gear and the patch note was struck from the record. The patch note has now been unstruck from the record with a few modifications (for now; we are still getting the whole thing it sounds like in the future).

new world flip flop

 Yay? Maybe?

 Still some details to hammer out with the statement.  It says OPR gear already does this but last I checked that was only Rusher weapons and not just your random 590+ purple armor or weapons from OPR caches.  War is still a cool kids club; one that really honestly doesn't need any more of a reward than it already gives but I can let this slide.  Invasion reward upgrades are a good deal though; it is honestly getting hard to field invasion defenses.  Gear from gypsum casts is the real big one for this change and I am glad I have 100+ orbs saved up!

 As noted it sounds like they want to bring it to the rest of the pile of junk items in the game (at least the purples) so holding some outside optimism on where this is going.  I for one love the idea.

Tuesday, February 28, 2023

It's The Little Things That Matter in Battlefield 2042

Ah the little things...

 Battlefield 2042 Season 4 is here and the community is excited about the little things.  Mainly some improvements to minimap scaling.

  • Increasing the size of the minimap will no longer also increase the size of the icons.
  • Added an option to allow customization of the scale of the minimap icons.
  • Added an option for the scale of the minimap icons to scale with the view distance of the minimap (Enabled by Default).
minimap scale bf2042

 I don't really care but the community is excited: It's finally here!

Monday, February 27, 2023

And Nope

 And just like that the New World development team is back to what I like to call "alternative winning".

This was actually a really exciting change that the developers had not talked about as part of this PTR so we were pleasantly surprised to see the patch note.  This would have given an entirely new spin to purple gear that was 590+ gear score and opened more ways to get best in slot gear.

 It was closest, at least in my mind, to the mystic toilet from Guild Wars 2.  Take some junk, toss it in the toilet (upgrading to 600 GS in New World context), and random chance to get something good out of the deal.  

 I am hoping New World is considering this change and it just needs more time to bake before it is brought to PTR.  This would open another path than crafting to gain best in slot gear.  There is a ton of good 2-perk epic (purple) gear that a player ends up with so it'd be great to be able to upgrade it to 600 at a chance for landing that best-in-slot perfect 3-perk combo.  

 Since the gear binds to you when you upgrade it this would marginally impact the market and for the most part leave crafters unaffected as they'd still be the single path for best-in-slot gear that can be sold/traded.

 With the plan to "shake up" balance every season it can't continue to take a year+ to get best in slot gear.  I have close to 2,000 hours played and I have yet to fill out  an entire set and with Season 1 on the way many of my builds are no longer worth investing in so I am starting over.

 So here's hoping the developers are listening!  Get back to winning already!

Saturday, February 25, 2023

5D what now with what again?

I came across this image and I am now intrigued about 5D Chess With Multiverse Time Travel.  5D what now with what again?  You read that right: 5D Chess With Multiverse Time Travel.  Read through the image and I will see you over on the Steam page.

Friday, February 24, 2023

New World Gear Sets WTF!?

 Tons of patch notes this morning from New World, but it's this update posted to the forums that has the community up in arms.

 3 free gear sets?  A limit to how many extra you can purchase?  What game are the developers looking at?  Three is criminally low.  Let's count through how many gear sets an average player will have:

  1. Main role Lost ward/bane
  2. Main role Corrupted ward/bane
  3. Main role Ancient ward/bane
  4. Main role Angry Earth ward/bane
  5. PvP set (let's just assume players just have one...)
  6. Main crafting skill set
  7. Secondary crafting skill set (most players have cooking sets)
  8.  Refining set - Stonecutting
  9.  Refining set - Woodworking
  10. Refining set - Leatherworking
  11. Refining set - Weaving
  12. Refining set - Smelting
  13. Gathering set - Lumberjack 
  14. Gathering set - Mining
  15. Gathering set - Harvesting
  16. Gathering set - Skinning

 Let's just stop there... as you can see we are already at 16 and this is just if you do one role in the game such as just DPS.  If you, like me, dabble in tanking and like variety in PvP add eight more sets to this list.  And they are adding another ward/bane (human) as well this season!

 I am less worried about paying for extra slots and more worried that since there are only 3 free sets that the total limit will be much lower than what is actually needed.  The only way this small number would make sense is if they were getting rid of refining, gathering, crafting sets (doubt it) or if ward/bane were being changed so you didn't need different gear for different types (doubt it).

 Over the last two days I've defended the New World developers a bit, but this is another "shoot yourself in the foot" moment for them.  Just baffled here.  Hopefully AGS takes action on the community uproar and increases the free slots and places no limit on max. Seriously; I was just reading through a more hardcore player's list and they have 37 -- THIRTY SEVEN -- sets!

Thursday, February 23, 2023

New World Devs CAN Win

 Yesterday the New World developers couldn't win.  To which the developers said "hold my beer" and dropped an updated 2023 roadmap, a brand new developer update, and the long awaited PTR update.  Apparently the New World development team can win so shut up and sit down community.

 Watching the developer update here are some thoughts.

 Seasons aka battle passes were announced.  This will be bundled content with a theme.  We've known since the game launched that this was coming and it is finally here.  The seasons will have goals which will help returning players know what to do when they come back.  I like the approach and agree with the structure.

 There will be a free track on the season passes and a premium ($20) track.  Premium was noted as having "more stuff" than the free track but nothing will be unique the premium.  This is fine with me and prefer this approach.  Tracks will be advanced by "just playing the game" with some challenge activity cards that you can flex around to complete what you want.

 A new expedition is coming featuring the Varangian knights.  My only concern here is that the Varangians are a new enemy type and so I assume means current +ward / +bane gear will be ineffective.  Does this mean new ward and bane types?  If so that is irritating.  I don't necessarily mind having to balance multiple sets of gear for different content but I also wasn't wanting to go start up yet another one for one piece of content; especially without gear set management... which leads to!

 Gear set storage in March.  IN MARCH. YES!  This is honestly the biggest piece for me and I have high hopes for this as it was one of my main negativity drivers when playing.  I have too many gear sets and got tired of managing via a spreadsheet (and anyone that knows me knows I love my spreadsheets -- seriously I do -- so this is saying a lot!)

 The main story quest (MSQ) is being updated for Brightwood and Weaver's Fen.  Fine, but irrelevant to the majority of the playerbase. 

 Events were mentioned. The spring event is coming and looks to be on par with the winter/summer/fall events and fills in the fourth "seasonal" events (not to be confused with seasons aka battle passes).  Also sounds like we are getting more smaller events like the current Legacy of Crassus.  I love events and I don't care if you don't.  Combine events with the seasons and it should give players a set of changing content to always be working on while still have the regular non-seasonal content available.

 Balance changes were discussed and they want to "shake up PvP" and what was discussed is all coming in Season 1.  This was an absolutely stacked section; rapid firing through the changes so apologies on scattered thoughts here.

  • Musket changes:  it will take longer to set up and zero your shot.  It will be less accurate vs the pinpoint accuracy it is today.  This was compared to the skill needed to draw and release a bow to shoot an arrow.  I am not sure this enough; if it is still able to hit at max visual range it is still a problem.  There has to be drop off on the shot if a comparison to bow makes any sense.  This does very little for PvE to make musket viable.
  • Light armor changes: light armor will get less bonus from shirking fort and other defensive perks.  I am wait and see on this.  Light dodge roll + damage increase is the main reason light is so strong so not sure this does much.  It is also a change just to light with, as far as I can tell, no changes for Medium or Heavy.  Just changing light was NOT what I expected.  I expected actual changes to at least heavy to make it make more sense to use.
  • Hatchet: defy death gonna need defy death to survive this whacking.
  • Greatsword: they are reducing the "stickiness" of Greatsword so it doesn't hit as easily.  Meh.  I felt like Greatsword is how all melee weapons should work.  I had hoped maybe they'd say "hey we want to bring all weapons up to Greatsword" but I am not surprised the change is just to nerf greatsword.
  • Ranged PvE: more powerful +bane weapons.  Removing elemental affixes so mutations don't, for example, have Fire damage reduction.  Fine but I don't want ranged DPS to be the meta of expeditions.
  • Fire Staff: they feel it is under powered.  Tweaking to make it stronger.  I still struggle with this because I regularly face top tier Fire Staff players who dominate as it is... I dread thinking about them getting a buff. 
  • Crafting balance changes: 
    • 2x changed to 3x XP for first time crafts; love it.
    • Arcana - motes give more XP; love it.
    • Cooking - XP leveling structure reworked so you get rewarded for crafting a variety instead of a single meal type.  Not sure what the point of this was.  It will feel better, but players will just find the new most efficient
    • Low level gear crafting - will no longer overshoot the level
    • Quality of life improvements to crafting.  The biggest takeaway was that certain materials will say WHERE to get them so you don't need to use a website to find out where something drops or is purchased.  Love that change.
    • Changes to how materials are used and what they mean to a crafting attempt.  Better materials = more XP for leveling.  This is a good change but not sure if these changes mean anything to end game crafting.

 Also tucked into the balance section was a mention that world drops of ammunition types will scale up so you should no longer get just iron ammo; you can now get all the way up to orichalcum ammo in end game zones.  This was loooooong overdue and so glad to see the change being made.  I may even consider playing a ranged ammo weapon again!

 Cross-server OPR is still coming but also more OPR changes were announced.  Scoring changes to focus on objectives, ranged damage reduction on the forts, restrict sniping baroness, and updated siege.  All great changes.  Keep in mind that full details were light in the video. 

 A new arena map was announced.  Fine, but don't really care.

 The the territory influence game is getting updated under the title of "Influence System v2".  "Less grindy and more fun" was the quote that caught me.  I hope they can deliver on this and the plan mentioned with scheduling windows for the influence push should help concentrate action.  Open world PvP is the best PvP this game has to offer and this change should bring some of it to the forefront.  I still believe they have to change the quests that go along with it for it to be any good so we'll see what the "capture a tower" aspect looks like that they mentioned.

 The "super deep" (their words, not mine) roadmap was updated at the end of the video (embedded in the beginning of the post).

 Summer will be season 2.  Transmog is the king of this season and I can't wait.  I miss "Fashion Wars 2".  Season 2 will also include a PvE raid called a "seasonal trial" that is waves and then a boss.  This is separate from the "hardest PvE content" promised with the giant sandworm raid that is also coming in Season 2.  Cross-server OPR is in season 2.

 Fall will be season 3 and will have a full expansion!  Mounts!  New weapon!  "Influence System v 2".  Big deal. Big fucking deal.  Cannot wait!

 Winter is season 4 will feature mutators of the seasonal trial from season 2 and a new expedition.  A little far out for me to get too deep into the list here.

 Over all and in summary:


Wednesday, February 22, 2023

New World Devs Can't Win

 The New World team brought a new event to life yesterday.  Players can hunt down a pair of invading Roman-themed cyclops in Legacy of Crassus.  Of course community feedback seems mostly to be negative.  Feedback centers around rewards not being great and the content being too easy.  The developers can't win.

 If we take a step back earlier this year the New World team provided their road map for the first half of the year.  The community feedback was: "this isn't enough!".  Legacy of Crassus was NOT on that road map so one would have thought the community would have praised getting more content delivered.  Of course that is not the case as we are seeing with the event being live now; there is a high bar expectation.

 What is that high bar expectation?  The content needs to be challenging and have good rewards.  Those are two areas that seem to come up a lot with New World content; especially when it is open world content like this event where there is no control around how many players may show up or what they will show up with.

 Let's talk "challenging" first.  As mentioned this is an open world event.  It features a set of bosses and their friends spawning in a single spot. This inevitably leads to the same behavior as the seasonal events: a zerg of players shows up and beats it down.  With enough players there is little challenge; just stay out of the big hitters and you won't die and you'll get your reward.  However, if not enough players are there the content gets much more challenging.  

 I can agree with the community here: the event is too easy.  We had some promising events with Halloween and Winter in 2022 where the world bosses, while not super challenging, did come with some unique mechanics and required you to be awake at the keyboard.  Legacy of Crassus does not match those events.

 With that said if the content was too hard players won't do it.  Open world content that is concentrated in this manner is hard to get right.  The New World developers need top change these events to be less centralized and more spread out and they have to figure out a way that the content scales in difficulty with the player count involved (which may mean instancing some of it or blocking more and more players from piling on).

 Moving onto "good rewards".  This is tough.  If this event gave out "best in slot" rewards there would be an uproar.  If the event gives up rewards of junk (anything that isn't a legendary and even legendary if the perks suck) then the perception is it's not rewarding.  If the event gives up "good rewards" (anything legendary with good perks), while being too easy of an event, then players that got "good rewards" from harder processes such as crafting or mutations feel slighted.  

 My personal view is I think they got the rewards right with the event for it's difficulty level.  Players can get guaranteed legendary rewards each day and if they do it each day they will get each of the unique rewards.  It also rewards gypsum and umbral shards; always useful for any level 60 player.  Also the chance at the new craft mod (not sure what it is; didn't get it yet and haven't looked it up).  After that daily reward players get a crate which like most crates in New World rewards garbage players will just salvage (for example; I got a green Great Axe today). 

 The guaranteed daily rewards are great (see screenshot below of my first day's rewards).  Are they best in slot legendary?  No, because the community would complain if they were.  They look pretty good though and worst case you salvage them for the salvage materials.  Salvaging legendary items is nothing new in this game.

 So the New World developers can't win with adding new content outside of the roadmap because it has to be "challenging" with "good rewards"; two things that are hard to get right in this game.  Of coures I am finishing this post right as the developers dropped their next update and an updated road map.  Maybe they can win?  Watch below and you decide.

Tuesday, February 21, 2023

Ranting at the end of the world: The Last Of Us Episode 6 (Show + Podcast)

 And onto Episode 6. The show is over folks.  We found Tommy.  Everyone can go home now.

 Oh but wait; the entire driving force for Joel wasn't apparently enough so onwards we go.  Suspense intensifies.  Hopefully the two well fed survivalists in the cabin stay well fed and safe (they were pretty funny as a couple).  Apparently in this post apocalyptic world food isn't an issue for anyone except when we needed Henry and Sam to have a reason to come out of hiding.

 Maybe this sort of plot works in the game where players dismiss the fact they have to keep on chugging along, but damn does it fall short in a TV show.  I could maybe buy Joel giving up the safety and comfort of Bill's place because of the driving force to find Tommy.  Yet Tommy doesn't seem to have meant much to Joel once he was found; some possible promise of the impossible with Ellie is a bigger attraction and reason to leave another safe and stable community?  If Joel ever does get his sheep farm I don't know how I'll react.

 See y'all next week.

Monday, February 20, 2023

Assistant with an OV-P Recon Drone

When you just need to get that weekly challenge done in Battlefield 2042!

Flying the OV-P Recon Drone around is so much fun sometimes.  I can't do it every match but when the weekly challenge encourages me I love breaking it out; especially on maps like Discarcded.

And took home an outstanding performance for most assists!

Sunday, February 19, 2023

Saturday, February 18, 2023

Saturday Blogging Thoughts

 Ever since I returned to daily blogging; especially when I changed the blog template and removed DISQUS for comments the traffic to this site has tanked.  On top of that Google Search Console is barfing all over the site's pages and no longer indexing them.  I don't run this site for the page views, the SEO, or to monetize (at most I do Amazon referral links so I can get more crap on Amazon I don't really need).

 That had me looking at what Blogger offers these days... and... that is nothing.  Seems like Google is just letting Blogger coast.  So off to Reddit's blogging subreddit to ask if I am crazy and to see what else is out there.

 That resulted in some suggestions I'll be evaluating

  • Substack
  • Publii (static site)
  • Wordpress
  • and some more in the thread

If you have a thought toss it in the comments. 

Reddit thread embedded below:

Friday, February 17, 2023

ChatGPT writes a post about MMORPGs

 ChatGPT is neat.  There is a lot of interest in artificial intelligence (AI) and with ChatGPT giving an approachable interface to some remarkable AI ChatGPT has the world buzzing with the possibilities.  For most of us ChatGPT is either the next big thing or a neat toy.  I tend to fall more into "toy" category myself; reminded of the quote along the lines of "We tend to overestimate the effect of a technology in the short run and underestimate the effect in the long run."  That is to say I think ChatGPT is over-hyped currently but under-hyped in what it will mean in the history books of the future.

 With that said I wanted to see what ChatGPT would write on my behalf for the blog.  Here's the outcome:

Title: Exploring the World of MMORPGs: A Guide for Newcomers

Are you looking for a new online gaming experience? Perhaps you've heard about MMORPGs and want to know what all the fuss is about. MMORPGs, or massively multiplayer online role-playing games, are games that allow players to interact with each other in a virtual world. In this post, we'll explore the world of MMORPGs and provide a guide for newcomers.

Choose Your Game Wisely

There are many MMORPGs available, so it's important to choose a game that fits your interests and playstyle. Some popular MMORPGs include World of Warcraft, Final Fantasy XIV, and Guild Wars 2. Each game has its own lore, world-building, and mechanics, so do your research before choosing.

Learn the Basics

MMORPGs can be overwhelming for newcomers, so take the time to learn the basics of the game. This may include learning how to create a character, navigate the world, complete quests, and interact with other players. Most MMORPGs have tutorials or starting zones that teach you the basics, so don't be afraid to take your time.

Join a Guild or Group

Playing an MMORPG is more fun when you're playing with others. Joining a guild or group can help you find other players to quest with, get advice on the game, and participate in group activities like raids. Many MMORPGs have tools for finding and joining guilds, so take advantage of these resources.

Understand the Time Commitment

MMORPGs are designed to be played over a long period of time, so be prepared to invest a lot of time in the game. This may mean logging in regularly to complete quests, participating in group activities, and keeping up with game updates. If you have limited time to play, consider choosing a game with more casual play options.

Watch Your Spending

Some MMORPGs are free-to-play, while others require a subscription or in-game purchases. Before you start playing, understand the game's payment model and set a budget for yourself. In-game purchases can be tempting, but it's important to balance your spending with your other financial priorities.

In Conclusion

MMORPGs can be a fun and immersive way to connect with other players and explore a virtual world. As a newcomer, it's important to choose a game that fits your interests, learn the basics, join a guild or group, understand the time commitment, and watch your spending. With these tips, you'll be well on your way to becoming a seasoned MMORPG player.

Thursday, February 16, 2023

Dark and Darker Demo Thoughts

 I got a chance to give the Dark and Darker demo a go.  Here are some thoughts.

 Good: Premise of a PvPvE dungeon crawler where players join in a dungeon to kill monsters, get loot, and then either fight to the death or hide long enough to escape.

 Bad: Literally everything about this game.

 The combat is terrible.  I laugh thinking about how many players complain about New World combat currently (not balanced, desync, yadda, yadda).  They need to spend a minute in the combat of Dark and Darker and maybe they'll be thankful for New World's combat.  After an hour of playing Dark and Darker I cannot bring myself to play any more.  It is slow and lacks any meaningful feedback to the player.

 As it's just a demo I didn't expect any sort of "introduction to the game" mode, but this is definitely something the game needs to have if it is going to launch.  Nothing is explained and new players will find themselves dead quickly with no understanding of  what they are supposed to be doing.  Even "New Player Guides" on YouTube have a hard time explaining what you are supposed to do in this game.

 I think the only redeeming quality of the game is the promise of some PvP action but the combat is so horrible that I can't imagine anyone but the most hardcore of players sticking it out.  Though I may be wrong as I was flabbergasted when I checked out the demo player numbers on Steam Charts and saw the peak at 100,000+ concurrent players and averages hovering around 70,000 daily peak.  I feel like I'm missing something; how are that many people OK with this clunky combat?

More popular than I'd of expected!

 Give me New World grade action combat and this PvPvE concept and I'm all over it, but as it is Dark and Darker is going in the history bin for me.  I cannot get past the terrible combat to comment on any other part of the game.  There is no way I am dealing with a game that handles like a 1990s adventure game.  Can anyone explain to me how on earth they enjoy this combat?  Is the PvPvE aspect that much of an attraction?  Are we as a community this starved for this type of game?  TELL ME WHAT I AM MISSING HERE!!!

Wednesday, February 15, 2023

What bringing the class system back to Battlefield 2042 has done

 Battlefield 2042's latest update brought back the class system of Battlefield history.  Players now select a class that limits gadgets, throwables, and specialists that can be chosen.  This is Battlefield and I am happy to see it back.

 Prior to this latest update players could select any combination of specialist, gadget, weapon, and throwable (grenades).  This meant I could play as Irish (a support specialist), carrying anti-vehicle rockets, and at the same time carry the proximity sensor (grenade).  On top of that I could use any gun (assault, SMG, LMG, or sniper).

 To be honest it was pretty sweet as I noted in my post here and here.  I was a mega super team support player with my Irish setup.  I could do everything except shocking non-squad members back to life.  But that is where the problem lied.  Everyone could do everything and thus the Battlefield developers had to make many things "balanced"; for example since everyone could carry anti-vehicle it was weaker than it would be if it was less limited. It was fun but then also not fun.

 With the class system back in place the developers have been able to make things like anti-vehicle stronger per shot (since there is less of them now).  Vehicles should in theory feel less threat over all because not everyone is rocking anti-vehicle tech.  There is far less proximity sensor spam as it is restricted by class (even if that does break my nonexistent heart).

 The development team also figured out an approach to continue to allow all classes to use any of the main guns.  If I want to use an SMG as an assault class I can continue to do so (in prior Battlefields the SMG was limited to Support).  There were proficiency added (as covered in this post) to certain classes to favor certain weapons, but they are not so dramatic as to penalize someone for opting out to another class of gun.

 After having played several rounds under the new system the game does feel better over all.  I actually got in a vehicle without immediately getting blown up!  There seems to be more medics and thus more revives.  I have a much better understanding of what my teammates are capable of because I can see what class they are.  The only thing I really miss is my proximity sensor as I am not a fan of the other grenades, but I understand sometimes less is more.

 Have you given the update a try?  If so, what are your thoughts?

Tuesday, February 14, 2023

Closing in on that sweet 1:1 K:D

 Maybe not an achievement for the chad gamers of the world but for us old fart gamers getting to a 1:1 K:D in games like Battlefield 2042 is an achievement.  I was at 1:1 for a period but I've had some terrible  rounds after coming back from a hiatus.

 Also I am finding myself pretty terrible at some of the original maps (they suck compared to Spearhead IMHO) and feel like I am either getting spawn killed or getting shot in the back because I don't know where to expect enemies from.

 Anyways here is my progress:

Monday, February 13, 2023

Ranting at the end of the world: The Last Of Us Episode 5 (Show + Podcast)

 I can't stop watching the The Last of Us show on HBO Max or listening to the companion podcast after each episode.  I also can't turn my brain off long enough to just enjoy the show.  I need to rant.  Need. To. Rant. 

 Episode 5 was a trainwreck in pacing and the writers missed a great opportunity to explain the world and how it collapsed so quickly after the fungi-demic.

 Reminder: I have never played the games. 

 Spoilers... duh.

 First I am going to rant about pacing.  The pacing of this episode was not great.  A slow roll into a chaotic ending.  The swap between the two paces failed to build any tension.  Instead of getting an impending sense of doom building through the episode we go from safe and cozy to end of the world.  End of the world through a complete happenstance event of a truck crashing into a house in the exact spot to open a hole into an underground tunnel system... the same tunnel system that somehow the main characters exited well before this point even though clearly the tunnel system went exactly to the point where they needed to go!?

 What could have been done differently?  First off why is there ZERO build up about the rampaging horde?  Where are the clickers watching the characters from the sewer grates?  Where is more rippling ground like we saw in the previous episode?  It is so dumb that the entire scene hinges on a truck happening to crash into the right spot on a building to then open the ground to a swarming mass of infected.

 Also the entire sniper scene is anti-climatic.  The sniper takes shots at Joel as he makes his way in his direction so knows he is coming for him; yet acts totally surprised when he gets there?  Why not build some tension here?  They could have shown Joel making his way to the sniper, brought in the radio traffic to the sniper earlier, showed the militia making progress more, and hinted at the infected lurking just below the surface.  Instead it all just burps itself onto screen and makes for a complete "what?" turn of events.

 Next let me rant about this show's problem with character plot armor.  In the chaotic end fight scene we see human after human get obliterated by the infected; all except the main characters even though positioning and decision-making wise are in terrible positions.  Let's not even talk about the scene before then where the militia has the main characters surrounded and could easily walk around the car to face them, but instead bumble their way through the scene until the infected blob explodes out of the ground.  

 Of course even being surrounded by militia and with infected about to rampage over the area the main characters never feel like they are in danger.  Henry, who Kathleen so wanted to kill without question, somehow inexplicably remains standing while Kathleen decides it is better not to pull the trigger and instead turn around to watch a truck slowly sink into the ground.  Then Joel's expert sniper skill dropping running headshots like the bad ass he is, Ellie randomly finding an escape route, and the convenient "hide under this car" trick for Henry and Sam.  

 Combined with the lack of risk building up through the episode at no point was I worried about any characters other than the throw away Kansas City militia and you damn well knew they were going to suffer some gruesome deaths.  Bloater got him some head!

 Oh but that plot armor was only there momentarily so we could get a cliche ending.  Oops the kid got bit and clearly Joel's survival instincts are gone as no one thinks to check the kids to see if they were injured in the rampage.  They may have discovered Sam's leg is bleeding profusely and ruined our unexpected ending.  

 Then shocker.  Bang. Oh, bang two! Wow! Edgy television here folks!  How about this instead; Joel sees Sam getting dragged away and has to off him with the sniper rifle as a mercy?  That would of made way more sense and fit PERFECTLY with Kathleen's quote “Well kids die, Henry. They die all the time."

 Most egregious to me though was the missed opportunity with the underground community that was found.   In the podcast it is explained that in the game players can take their time reading notes left around that explains what happened further but said that wouldn't work in the show.  Maybe not reading notes, but this set was so cool and offered so many intriguing chances to explain what happened after infection day zero.

 For a show that goes out of its way to ham in the backstory it really, really, really, really freaking missed a great chance to spend the better part of an episode exploring this mini lost society.  It was the perfect backdrop for some flashbacks; way better than the other options used thus far.

 I want to know so much more about what happened in this underground society but instead all I got was a poorly executed anti-climatic and chaotic scene followed by an edgy mega downer of an ending.  This show is so good its bad.