Sunday, January 29, 2023

New World Community Q&A Thoughts

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Monday, January 23, 2023

Lost Ark or Lost Bots?

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, January 21, 2023

Return of the Classes to Battlefield 2042

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, January 20, 2023

Wooting 60HE Is Like Cheating

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, January 19, 2023


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

Wednesday, January 18, 2023

Community Q&A New World

 Under the weather so don't have the energy to share my thoughts yet, but wanted to post that the community Q&A with the New World developers has been posted.  Take a look and tune in over the next few days to my blog feed for my thoughts.  I will share though that I am happy hippos are coming to Aeternum!

Monday, January 16, 2023

You Don't Know Until You Know: Mouse Pad

Glorious Elements Ice Mousepad
 I am a fan of Glorious mice and keyboards (I still use a GMMK for work even with my recent Wooting 60HE purchase).  I also own a few odds and ends from Glorious such as their headphones hook, wrist pads, and mouse bungee.  Even with this investment in Glorious I was still using an old "freebie" mouse pad borrowed from my office now that I work from home.  That changed when I grabbed the Glorious Elements Ice mouse pad on sale recently.  I didn't know mouse pads could be this good and change how you use a mouse so much!

 Moments after placing the pad on my desk and moving my Glorious Model O mouse across the surface I knew this was going to be a difference maker in my set up.  The mouse glides effortlessly with almost no resistance.  The movement is so smooth I am baffled how long it took me to realize such pads existed.

 It wasn't long after getting the pad that I booted up Battlefield 2042 and New World and gave it a whirl in game.  The difference was immediate.  Mouse movement was the most smooth I've ever had in a game.  Not once did I feel like I was hitting a limit of my physical area and the times I needed to move the mouse to make larger swipes felt glorious (pun intended)!

 I am about a month into gaming with the pad and while it took a week or two to get used to the ice skate smoothness I can't imagine anything else now.  Even outside of games it is a game changer for productivity during work.  It is just easier now to use my mouse as it floats across the surface.  Sometimes you just don't know until you know!

Friday, January 13, 2023

Smedley leaves Amazon Game Studios

 John Smedley is leaving Amazon Game Studios.  John has a long history in the MMORPG community and people either hate him or love him.  My own feelings are mixed; he was there for a lot my favorites but was also there driving some of them into the ground before failing on some promising prospects.  He also failed to bring anything new to market in recent years; even when he had opportunity with projects like Everquest Next.

 Many felt that John would be the savior of MMORPGs when he joined Amazon Game Studios (AGS) and it was revealed that he was leading the team building a future sci-fi massively multiplayer game (not clear how RPG it was going to be).  Now with John leaving AGS what does that mean for the MMO community?


 As noted in the article I linked the game Smedley was working on was reaffirmed to still be in development.  Also based on other games AGS is getting involved in, such as Blue Protocol, it seems AGS is all-in on MMO games.

 The Bloomberg article that broke the Smedley news is a little more doom and gloom.

"Another veteran executive is leaving Inc.’s video game division, which has struggled to produce big hits since it launched a decade ago."
 It is hard to argue the big hits point, but that is ignoring that AGS have been on an upswing.  New World was a successful launch and continues to go up and down as it pushes content out the door.  AGS brought Lost Ark to the west, which has been a smashing success, and they are also involved with Blue Protocol which is getting buzz.

 Maybe Smedley wasn't the savior of the MMO community and it is actually AGS?  Was Smedley not getting the job done?  I'd argue he has a lot of dead prospects on the most recent road behind him (killed Star Wars Galaxies, failed with Everquest Next, multiple other SOE/Daybreak failures, failed kickstarter project) so not impossible he was failing with anew project.

 Or maybe Smedley is done with big corporate?  While SOE and Daybreak were not Amazon big they were still corporate.  I take Smedley's attempt at a crowd funded game (Hero's Song) to be indicative he wants the smaller scale and more intimate game development that an indie kickstarter offers.  It wouldn't surprise me if the only reason he moved on from Hero's Song is because AGS came in with a big paycheck and a sales pitch that they were here to save MMOs and they needed the legend himself to do it (if it were me that would probably be enough of a reason).

 Will be curious to see his next move.  My history in MMOs is as much Smedley's at this point.

Thursday, January 12, 2023

New World Combat Balance Dev Blog

 New World posted a short Dev Blog on an upcoming Combat Balance Update.

 I wanted to share a few thoughts on each area they mention.
 In order they mention balance changes to
  • Fire Staff - The running community joke is whenever there is a balance issue with any weapon the only correct response is to nerf Fire Staff again.  I can't imagine they'd nerf Fire Staff as its been nerfed multiple times (but I'd argue FS is still very strong in the right hands)
  • Bow - The BowPR meme for OPR (Outpost Rush) is real.  Bow has been very strong for a while and stronger the more skill the player has.  My biggest issue with bow is that it combines mobility and top tier ranged damage.  I'd like to see mobility cut down with bow or damage reduced on range to balance out the mobility.
  • Musket - Musket.  What can we say about musket?  The main balance change is nerfing the heck out of its seemingly unlimited range.  It needs to be effective at a short range and about worthless at a distance.  For PvE the musket needs some way to match melee left click spam to dish out damage.
  • Hatchet - The only thing that is a problem with hatchet is Defy Death so I assume that is what we'll see a change to.
  • Greatsword - The community is begging for a change to Greatsword.  It is the weapon of choice everywhere PvE or PvP.  Hard to pinpoint exactly what needs to change.  In my experience greatsword just feels right and I wish more weapons felt as good as it does.  Will be interested in what is changing here.
  • Equip loads (light/medium/heavy) - This may be the biggest part of this balance update and is wide open as far as what may change.  I've talked on this blog before about changes I'd like to see such as restricting the Shirking perks to specific loads the way Shirking Energy is light only.  Ultimately light is simply too strong; damage/healing increase and best dodge roll.  Something has to change with it or Medium and Heavy need serious upgrades to be comparable.
 No matter the changes I expect backlash because gear will be impacted.  It may be a key weapon ability changing and thus making that perfect weapon with it's weapon perk worthless now.  Or it may be what I suggested around Shirking perks.  Could you imagine if Shirking Fortification (as an example) got restricted to just heavy equip load?  That sort of change would ruin a massive amount of gear (shirking fortification is a desired perk for most PvP armor).

 I hope AGS has the courage to be aggressive with changes even if they do cause unrest or impact player's gear.  Gear is getting easier to craft and get desired results and a good crafting economy relies on consumption so players having to swap to new gear will drive consumption.

 Now we just have to get the update on PTR and let folks pick it apart!  What are you hoping for in the changes?

Wednesday, January 11, 2023

Hitting the nostalgia hard! Coe's Quest!

 Watching my own Minecraft video from 11 (11!) years ago had me waxing nostalgic for those glorious early years of Minecraft.  A hallmark of those years, at least for me, was Coe's Quest on YouTube.  Anytime my oldest son starts talking to me about Minecraft (a daily occurrence) I hum the closing theme song to Coe's Quest... "talkin' about Minecraft.  Talkin' about Minecraftttttt".  Episode 001 is embedded below and some thoughts are shared below.

 Chills watching this!

Tuesday, January 10, 2023

Videos from my past: Minecraft Mondays 001

 With 2023 I am looking to do more with video content.  This has had me reminiscing about my past video endeavors.  There are some videos lost to time from when I published to Google Video (before they bought YouTube).  I am hoping to find those on old hard drives and resurrecting what I can.  With that said there are some videos on my YouTube channel so I figured a trip down nostalgia road would be neat.  Below is my first Minecraft Monday video and I share some thoughts after.

 The first thing that jumped back at me was the silence of the video.  No music or sound?  As best I can remember this was during a time of YouTube uncertainty around using music and getting your videos kicked off the site and I just wasn't ready at the time to share my voice with the world.

 As far as the content of the video it warmed my heart to see our old Minecraft server and my mountain base (still my all time favorite build).  This was a server we played on from our work PCs before workplaces got so hardcore about locking users away from the Internet.  I remember how difficult these minecart stations were to make and relying on glitches like minecart launchers where two carts get stuck together and glitch to move the cart forward (this was before powered rails)

 It is also crazy to me that this was 11 freaking years ago!  Even more amazing is the staying power of the game that is Minecraft.  This game is still one of my all time favorites.

 If memory serves me this video was captured using Fraps and edited using whatever came with Windows at the time.

Sunday, January 08, 2023

Friday, January 06, 2023

2023 Blogging Stuff

 I wanted to avoid doing the cliche "what are my 2023 goals" or "2023 predictions" posts, but wanted to share some of my blogging plans.  I want to adjust the rate at which I blog and have a slightly different look to the content.

 In 2022 I got the bug to get back into blogging.  I set a goal to post once a day, every day.  I pretty much did it including weekends and holidays.  Most posts were made the day of but I had a few queued up to schedule on days I knew I'd be busy.

 For 2023 I want to adjust my goal for posting: 5 posts a week (basically give myself the weekend off).  Yes this will include posts from simple "hey look at the Packers score" to more in depth gaming discussion.

 There are a couple posts I look fondly at from 2022.  The best representation of these "fond" posts is where I shared screenshots from my adventures in New World.  I realized after stumbling back accross that post that I don't share that type of content often.  

 For 2023 I want to get more into sharing the memories of my gaming sessions instead of just dropping opinions or sharing something I found.  More screenshots are really the key here.  Not sure if y'all will find it interesting but this blog has always been sort of for me so I'll enjoy it and maybe one of you out there will as well.

 And lastly for 2023 I want to get into some video content.  No guarantees on this but I enjoy editing video for work and for other personal use.  I did videos back before YouTube was a thing (sadly did not save all my Google Videos content... need to scan the old hard drives at some point), but haven't done anything since.


Thursday, January 05, 2023

Why are my posts with no content the most visited?

 Just an inside-blogging question that boggles me.  Since returning to blogging daily I've noticed that the posts I put the most effort into get the least traffic and those that I put no effort in get the most.

 For example; yesterday's post just to have a post has already seen twice the traffic than any of my recent posts with actual content.  Going back further my "Cold. No Power." post with nothing in it is the highest trafficed post from December.

 Why?  I don't know but I needed a post for today and I had nothing else on hand so here it is.  What do you think?

Wednesday, January 04, 2023

Post a day!

 This counts right?  Sorry, first day back to work after a long holiday break and I am pooped.

Tuesday, January 03, 2023

Sunday 1/1/2023 Post

Just getting around to posting this (a couple days late).

Beat the Lions this weekend and we're in the play offs!

Narrator: They did not beat the Lions.

Monday, January 02, 2023

New Year New Keyboard

 Ordered a Wooting 60HE a while ago and it finally got shipped to me.  So far love the keyboard; especially setting the lekkar switches actuation point (you can customize how far you need to press the key to activate it).  More thoughts to come as I get some gaming time with it.

Sunday, January 01, 2023

Happy New Year and some Axis & Allies & Zombies

 Happy New Year everyone and welcome to 2023.  One of our household traditions is to play Axis & Allies & Zombies .... and... I wanted to share my Axis victory image from last night. As my son would annotate his version of the picture "w for dad"!

 This should teach him not to get greedy with the Soviets in future games.  Moscow can fall quickly and is the most reasonable target for the Axis to win.  In the picture you will see black (Germany/Axis) in Moscow where a hard fought battle was won after a northern blitz move.  

 It was looking pretty bleak for the Axis before this which is why my son tried to start pushing into eastern Europe with the Soviets.  A move he certainly regretted when the tanks rolled into Moscow.

 What a great way to start off 2023 (for me at least)!