Friday, September 29, 2023

9/28/2023 Thursday Post

Ya... ya... I got it.  Here it is.  Packers got smacked... hard.  Hopefully the young team learns from this and can start putting together complete games.

lions beat packers

Thursday, September 28, 2023

New World: Eggs For Breakfast

 Mmm... tasty eggs for breakfast this morning in New World.  The screenshot is from the Siege of Sulfur event.

new world siege of sulfur

Wednesday, September 27, 2023

New World Expansion Disappointing?

 There are rumblings in the New World community that the Rise of the Angry Earth expansion and Season 3 changes will ultimately be disappointing for players.  Videos such as the one below from DukeSloth are contributing to the concerns.

 I don't want to get lost in DukeSloth's specific feedback (my comments are on the video if you are interested), but wanted to hit the high (low?) points I'm seeing across the community.

 We've waited a long time for the territory control rework and what we've gotten is a few new "basic" control points in each zone and time-locked windows (sucks to be you if you can't play during those times) to push influence to declare war.  The current system is boring and the new system, other than encouraging players to be in the same zone, still seems like a lot of running from A to B instead of encouraging PvP combat.  The "basic" control points are a far cry from what most imagined when "control towers" were announced.

 Territory control: possible disappointment.

 The expansion is adding one new zone which I've covered before.  The zone is smaller than other end game zones we've seen such as Brimstone Sands.  The main quest line on PTR only took a couple hours to work through.  There is only one new expedition.  Over all there is not a lot of content to go with this "expansion" which is not what many players are used to when an MMORPG says it is launching an "expansion".

 Expansion size and scope: possible disappointment.

 Crafting rework is promising but not promising.  Players can now craft specific best-in-slot gear but it will require a pile of time-gated materials so will take time and effort to craft.  However, all the crafts were raised to 250 (from 200) but only some gained the new crafting targets so it feels like grind added for no other reason than to grind to 250.

 Expansion crafting changes: possible disappointment (but also HYPE).

 Heartrunes upgrade to 700 GS now but require a ton of investment to upgrade.  It is not clear why this was added.  Heartrunes are a defining ability for players and gating players away from one of the few abilities they have in the game seems like an odd choice.  I didn't even realize this was a thing until I watched the DukeSloth video I linked.

 Expansion heartrune upgrades: possible disappointment.

 Stuff is just going to be silly and probably broken with all the changes.  Artifacts will lead to broken builds. Certain perk combinations feel really strong at first glance.  Whatever ends up being broken will probably be the flavor of the day and players are going to complain until the balance patches hit.  Current New World is in a good spot for balance (from my view anyways) so for some players going into a wild west period of builds will be frustrating.  Personally I find this time period fun; I like trying different builds!

 Silly broken builds: possible disappointment.

 Over all I am not worried in the slightest.  I love New World and will love it with all the changes even of some miss the mark or are underwhelming.  There are things I know for a fact that will just be better: the gear system is better, mounts are going to be awesome, and I am going to get to try all sorts of new things out with builds because of artifacts.  I agree that it doesn't feel "big" for an expansion but I didn't need it to be.  I am fine with just getting a bunch of new stuff to chew on.

Tuesday, September 26, 2023

New World Rise of the Angry Earth Preperation Checklist

new world

 With the Rise of the Angry Earth expansion barreling towards New World players on October 3rd I figured it was time to share my checklist of items I am doing to prep for expansion.

 A few key items to keep in mind:

  • Gear score max will change from 625 to 700; current 625 (and below) gear will become obsolete
    • Note: save it to salvage after the patch
  • Max level will be increasing from 60 to 65
  • A new faction tier will be available with new faction store rewards
  • Refining and crafting max level increases from 200 to 250
    • There is a new set of time-gated refining materials

On with my "New World Rise of the Angry Earth Checklist" (more detailed comments below)

  • Bank 10,000 of all raw materials (see below for full list) so that I can power through refining to 250
    • Then will use this to work on crafting, but I have no plans on
  • Bank 30 completed faction quests so that I can level up to the new faction tier
  • Faction tokens around 100k (max is 150k, but you need room to get your rewards turning in your banked faction quests)
  • Bank some completed town boards so that I can turn them in for level 60-65 progress
  • PvP salt saved up (I am at 80k)
  • PvP track ready to complete
  • Do the "Siege of Sulfur" event for named items

Raw Materials

With the refining skills increasing to 250 and a new set of time-gated materials becoming available it will be important to get to 250 refining as soon as possible so you can start refining the cooldown materials.  So I am working through banking a large amount of the following raw materials:

  • Weaving
    • Fibers
    • Silk Threads
    • Wirefiber
  • Logging
    • Green Wood
    • Aged Wood
    • Wyrdwood
    • Ironwood
  • Mining
    • Iron Ore
    • Starmetal Ore
    • Orichalcum ore
    • Note: I don't pass up Silver, Gold, or Platinum but I am not banking them
  • Leatherworking
    • Rawhide
    • Thick Hide
    • Iron Hide

There are folks that have done the math for how much of each is needed to get to 250 but I'm just using a generic "10,000 of each" farming target.

Note: you can then funnel these refined materials into cooldown mats or pushing crafting levels. Or just sell for gold as the market will likely be elevated for a while by folks just buying their way ahead.

Faction Quests and Tokens

You can have a max of 30 faction quests  and since there is a new faction tier to level up with the expansion any completed, but not turned in, faction quests will net you experience towards that level.  I am going to try and get 30 completed and ready to go for day one; at minimum as many as possible in the towns I own houses in.

As a note I am also banking about 100,000 faction tokens to buy new faction shop items. The cap is 150,000; so a 50k buffer for all the faction quests I will be turning in.

Town Boards

With the level increase to 65 it will be possible to get a jump start by having town boards completed but not turned in.  Many of the town board items are very simple; just need to have a few items stashed in storage or craft something.  I am avoiding the "go kill X or collect X" town boards.

PvP salt and track 

The PvP tracks will be a key source for end game gear and it is possible to see 700 GS rewards on the track on day 1.  These rewards will cost a good amount of azoth salt (20,000 if it follows current reward cost).

You can also "store up" a completed PvP track.  Important to note that this will stop new PvP XP gain so time this for right before you log off the day before.  The theory here is two things:

  • If the current track has Umbral Shards as a reward choice that will change to Dark Matter post patch; so leave the shards unselected and hope for the dark matter to select post patch
  • Since you are completing the track once you login you will get an immediate fresh track with new rewards on the new GS scale up to 700; if enough PvP XP rolled over you may get to pick one right away

Siege of Sulfur

The current event, Siege of Sulfur, was extended due to bugs so is still active.  This event spits out current 590 GS named items which will upgrade to 625 with the expansion.  They then can possibly salvage into Dark Matter.  This event is worth doing.

Monday, September 25, 2023

At least Starfield looks good

 I haven't done anything in photo mode so need to give that a try but here are some shots from the adventure so far.

Shotguns out when exiting the ship!

The ring.

Sadly I am not actually flying the ship.

Oh. Ah.

Neon aka "loading screen town"

Sunday, September 24, 2023

Sunday 9/24/2023 Post

 Like I said last week.  What-the-freaking-ever.  Mind blown the Packers won this one.

packers beat saints

Friday, September 22, 2023

Pre-Expansion Burn Out

new world burnout
 I am so excited for New World's first expansion, Rise of the Angry Earth, that I've burned myself out.  I am still playing and doing stuff, but I have no real drive for anything specific.  It's also hitting my desire to blog about it as well; I didn't even post yesterday!

 So I'll be over here chilling in the meantime and will find some other stuff to blog about; like complaining about Starfield.

Wednesday, September 20, 2023

Starfield is not a good game

 Here are my thoughts on Starfield after eight hours of play: Starfield is not a good game.

 I had big hopes for Starfield.  Not out-of-this-universe hopes, but I really thought it was going to be a once-in-a-lifetime game launch.  A launch you'd tell your grandkids about it (I am getting old!) like you tell your kids about World of Warcraft's launch.  Sadly, I was wrong about Starfield.

 Before we get to the bad I can at least admit that I dig the NASA-punk style.  Sitting down in the cockpit of your spaceship is an amazing visual feast.  Zipping around with lasers and ballistic cannons firing in space while all the screens and dials whir in your cockpit is awesome.  The spacesuits are slick.  Building exteriors are cool.  The few cities in the game are visually stunning.

 However, as far as nice things to say though; that's about it.  The game looks good some of the time.  I can't even say it looks good all of the time!  There is a lot of, to put it politely, grey-green-brown mush in this game.  Right alongside amazing starships and folks boost packing around in epic space suits is planet after planet of visual famine.

 There are so many things wrong with the game, but the biggest grievance I have is the number of loading screens and traversal via game menus (fast travel).  I recorded one such chain of events:

  • Menu to fast travel to destination
  • Loading screen into space
  • Menu to land on planet
  • Loading screen to land
  • Loading screen to exit ship
  • Walk short distance to building
  • Loading screen to enter building first room
  • Loading screen to exit first room
  • Loading screen for second part of building
  • Loading screen to exit back to first area
  • Loading screen to exit building
  • Menu to fast travel back to ship (walking is for suckers)
  • Menu to pick destination
  • Loading screen to launch into space
  • Menu to pick destination
  • Loading screen to travel
  • Menu to land on planet
  • Loading screen to land
  • Loading screen to exit ship

 That may seem extreme as an example but that is literally how you play the game.  Menu, load, menu, load.  Some will say "but you are supposed to do it the hard way and you will see the real Starfield, all the random encounters!".  Huh!?  Sure I can scoot around in space for a bit and fight a random pirate for the 10th time, but at some point I still have to go through menu + loading screen to get anywhere.

 The loading screen approach really kills the excitement for the game.  Other than the arcade-lite space combat system there is no point at which you or your crew is flying your ship.  Want to go somewhere on planet; it is menu > load > menu > load > hoof it out on foot.  They couldn't even bother to give us land vehicles in the absence of being able to fly our ship around the surface!

 To make the menu > load loop even worse the UI is trash.  So much so that one of the first mods for the game to gain traction was a mod for a better UI.  In a matter of days modders have better UI than Bethesda after how many years of development?  I admit that UI is a very hard item to get right, especially when the game crosses consoles and PC, but I swear to all that is noodly that if the Starfield UI swaps the function of a button one more time from one screen to the next I'm going to scream. It wouldn't be that bad if I didn't have to spend half my time playing the game buried in the damn UI!

 The story in Betheseda RPGs is something you either like or dislike.  I've never been a huge fan, opting to "click and get on with it", but there has always been a certain quirky quality to them that got me through.  Starfield's story though, barring some major improvement past where I am at currently, is a dud.  It is hard to follow and is nothing more than glorified fetch quests.

 Then there is the combat and general character experience/progression.  The gun play feels terrible; my pistol whip does more damage than 100 bullets.  Melee is garbage and has zero variety of choices.  Enemies are braindead; easily fooled or just outright skipped.  Ammunition is stupid scarce and you'd be better off just buying a new spaceship vs trying to buy enough bullets for one fight.  My best weapon is my freaking mining laser.  The progression makes no sense.  Loot drops way too much.  You can carry almost as much as your entire spaceship can... and inventory management is a nightmare.

 Systems are sometimes over explained, then others are not explained at all, and so few systems seem to connect together in any logical way.  Sometimes we say games are "made by committee" to indicate they are generic; Starfield is a game that feels "made by lots of committees that didn't talk to each other".  Every system is just mush and boiled down to basics.  As mentioned; space combat is arcade-lite. Researching, mining/gathering, ship building, outpost building, crews... all of these systems are feature incomplete and none of it makes any sense. 

 Oh and there is space magic.  Why? Who the freak knows.

 I am baffled by anyone playing this game that thinks its good.  I would never recommend the game and am very happy it was just a freebie with my GPU update (I had planned to upgrade anyways for New World).  I'd be seriously pissed if I spent money on this game (note: I did technically as I bought a copy for my 14 yo son; he seems to enjoy it but his context is Minecraft).

 Summed up: Starfield is like a box of random toys dumped in front of a kid with a parent trying to make up a story as they got along playing with them.  Starfield is not a good game.


Tuesday, September 19, 2023

Twitter? X? How about you join us on Mastodon!

mastodon logo

 Now seems like as good as time as any to recommend Mastodon.  If you are wondering "whats after Twitter/X" with Musky-boos latest dumb idea then let me suggest Mastodon; specifically come join us on Gamepad.Club's Mastodon instance (where all the cool MMORPG bloggers hang out).

Monday, September 18, 2023

New World Player Numbers

 New World is enjoying a resurgence in player interest as The Rise of the Angry Earth expansion nears.  We are still 2.5 weeks out from the 10/3 launch but up go the Steam charts!

new world player numbers

Friday, September 15, 2023

Big changes to New World PTR for Season 3 + Expansion

 DukeSloth has a good video out today on changes coming to the New World PTR for the Rise of the Angry Earth expansion and season 3.

My summary of changes:

  • Regeneration Serum is removed; it was too strong
  • PvP artifacts won't be locked to 100+ level so don't stress about not being at 100+
  • Artifacts on the free season pass track will be available as world drops later on; still worth getting on the free season 3 track vs farming later.  No artifacts on the paid track.
  • Magnify will now show when you are setting attributes; not after you set them so you know exactly what attribute it is applying to
  • Outpost Rush (OPR) crates dropped AFTER the update will drop up to 700 GS; so you could OPR day 1 and get a 700 GS reward
  • Runestone Stopwatches are no longer used in crafting; TBD what they will reward when salvaged (it better be good or I'm gonna be upset)

 These changes hit a few of the areas I was starting to get worried about. Specifically the regeneration serum was going to be a mandatory super potion if left as it was.  It would have made no sense to have in the game in the same patch where they are specifically nerfing healing potions in many aspects (especially in PvP).

 I am curious what Runestone Stopwatches will salvage into.  It would be ideal to know before the patch.  If it's not a great salvage then it would be much better to spend them now on something like crafting bags that you won't be racing out to change.  If it's really good then I will want to create more stopwatches and since they are daily cooldowns then I need to know now or each day I lose out!

 Lastly its good to get confirmation that OPR crates, dropped AFTER the update, will go up to 700 GS.  I am sure it will be rarer but the possibility along with the PvP track rewards should keep PvP players neutral (I'd say happy but us PvP players are a tough lot to make happy).  Also this means anyone saving up OPR crates currently won't get an unfair advantage once the update is live.

Thursday, September 14, 2023

New New World: Mounts

 Mounts are coming to New World and it truly is a BRAND NEW NEW WORLD!

 I am very excited for mounts and everything I have seen in the videos and on the PTR show that the team went above and beyond to deliver mounts.  I can't find the exact video but I remember distinctly at one point Scott Lane (lead boss man) stated if they were going to do mounts it would be when they could do them well and boy was that spot on.

 Mounts in New World will be much more than just a speed boost.  There is a riding skill, races and timed challenges, cosmetics, buffs and food, and multiple nice quality of life features.  

 One of the coolest finds on the PTR was realizing that your mount will try and follow the road if you set it to run on the road.  I had suggested exactly this in my Oct 2022 post on the topic when we first found out about mounts being in development.  I was comparing it to The Witcher games where the horse auto-paths:

...the horse in The Witcher will automatically follow paths/roads and the player can basically AFK to their destination if its at the end of the road.

 Speaking of the Witcher; the infamous "roof horse" is also a prevalent meme in the New World PTR.  This indicates there is some good movement capability with mounts to navigate them in tough terrain such as the roof of a building.


new world roof horse

 Another exciting note about mounts is that they will be allowed in Outpost Rush.  Gone are the days of long runs back to the action. This should spice things up as it should be much faster to help get to baron fights or to attack/defend back caps.  I know some players will complain about mounts in instanced PvP game modes but screw em... who the hell wants to spend 1+ minutes running back to the fight.  Note: mounts will not be available in wars.

 I am also looking forward to the mount tradeskill and building up my riding skill over time.  It doesn't look like it will take long to level up and some players may ask why it has to exist if it goes by fast, but just like leveling in RPGs it is a mechanism to train the player on the multiple features of mounts and unlock more and more capability in a controlled manner.  Crazy to think lots of players like it when a game walks them through a new feature!

 As far as mount variety I didn't want to see anything more than horses as I am not a big fan of New World getting too far down the fantasy path vs the original "age of discovery - the new world" vibe it had originally.  With that said I concede the "new world" ship has sailed and we are very much in knights and fantasy so I can live with horses, wolves, and lions as mounts.  Just glad it wasn't things like spiders.  I'd be cool with hippos though.

Wednesday, September 13, 2023

New New World: Crafting Changes

 The buzz keeps on buzzing for New World's expansion and changes for Season 3.  Today we have a great breakdown of crafting changes from Jay Oddity.  My hat off to Jay; he is owning it on the coverage of the current PTR.

 There is a ton of minutiae to go with the crafting changes so I want to avoid getting too far into the weeds and cover more of the "what does it all mean?".

 The big change is that crafters will be able to craft "perfect gear", but the components to do so will be time gated and take a bit of effort to collect.  Many of the high end components will be bind on pickup and thus require the crafter to put in the time.  Since materials are time gated daily/weekly we won't see a surge of perfect 700 gear score gear on day one from bankrolled crafters.

 Even though there is methods for perfect crafting; there is still the "gamblers delight" option where you get random perks.  Less material cost, but more risk.  It won't be as bad as current state crafting gambles as the perk pool is much, much better with far fewer garbage perks but it's still a gamble.  Some folks like to gamble so the option is still there for them.

 I do want to hit on the fact that some of the crafting materials for the better crafting methods are bind on pickup (BoP).  I understand why this was done and think it is fine, but it doesn't make me jump for joy as it forces crafters to participate in other parts of the game.  Forcing players to do things they may not want to do is never great.  I am hoping as we get farther away from the expansion that we see a transition away from BoP just like we saw the PvP perks become bind on equip instead of BoP.

 Another change is it seems items and buffs that increase crafting outcomes have a flat benefit now.  If a piece of armor grants +5 to minimum gear score that always applies.  It does not appear through gear and buff you can get to 700, but not clear if we are missing anything.  The way to 700 is the specific 700 GS crafting recipes... aka the "perfect gear" I noted before.  I may be misunderstanding this so don't take this as gospel yet.

 Crafting levels also have been increased to 250. It is not clear how much effort/material will be needed to level them from 200-250 but I am looking forward to pumping out some crafting levels.

 Over all I like all of the changes to crafting.  More meaningful outcomes is great.  I would like to see the BoP change but understand that it is needed to slow down how fast crafters get 700 GS items out into the game right after launch.  I am glad I have all of my crafting gear and trophies unlocked and look forward to pushing towards 250 in all my crafting levels.

Tuesday, September 12, 2023

New New World: Umbral Shards

 Holy patch notes Batman!  I don't have the time between now and 10/3 when the Rise of the Angry Earth expansion launches to cover all the details, but without a doubt we are truly getting a NEW New World!  Today though I wanted to zero in on the change coming to umbral shards as we've all been waiting to know what would happen to them.

 Umbral Shards
  •     Removed the ability to upgrade gear with Umbral shards.
  •     Umbral shards can now be salvaged for coin at a rate of 0.1 coin per umbral shard.

 First I want to say "told you so" to everyone that thought the original information was false when it was reported by Massively OP that umbral shards would be converted to gold.  It was clear that Massively OP reported that correctly from the developer Q&A they were part of and good to see it validated now.

 Next; I don't think there was any "winning" consolation prize that could be given for umbral shards.  New World needed to reset gear and gear progression for it to have a more meaningful end game loop and to do that they needed to shutter umbral shards.  Any compensation was going to be only a half measure.

 Personally I think 0.10 gold per shard is a fine compromise.  Its not enough gold that you would race out to gather a bunch before launch, but it's enough that if you have some laying around you'll cash them in and feel good about it.  Also it's a small enough amount that I don't feel terrible about cashing them in now to upgrade some "fun" gear sets to play around with before October.

 And honestly this is how I really feel...

umbral shards new world

Monday, September 11, 2023

New New World: Only ONE New Zone?

 I wanted to start covering the myriad of changes coming to New World for it's expansion and season 3 balance changes.  There is a ton to unpack and no particular order to cover it in so I came up with this serious of posts titled "New New World: <topic>" because we are in fact getting an entirely new and fresh version of New World!  Today I want to talk about the "just one new zone!?" feedback for the Rise of the Angry Earth expansion.

new world elysian wilds

 There has been a small uproar in the community about the expansion only having one zone and there is an argument to be had that it's not even "new" since it is just the First Light zone redone as the Elysian Wilds.  That doesn't seem like much for an "expansion"; especially when we received all of Brimstone Sands as a free update last year.

 I can somewhat see the argument that it is not an "expansion" as we are used to in the MMORPG space.  Normally an expansion means an actual "expansion" of the game on the size and scale of the original game.  With that said, based on Brimstone Sands last year, and what we've seen so far from Rise of the Angry Earth it seems like this will be New World's annual "expansion" size: one new zone and a bunch of new features.

 I am good with that.  I dislike when games add too much new landmass and invalidate all of the old.  While there will be a period of time where the Elysian Wilds is the zone to be in I expect players will fall back to Brimstone Sands, Reekwater, Shattered Mountain, and other current end game zones along with Elysian Wilds.

 Also we can't forget about the other zone receiving a makeover with Season 3: Edengrove.  With the angry earth taking over First Light they have left Edengrove open for the taking.  Edengrove will now be a capture-enabled territory with multiple changes to go along with it.  So technically we are getting two "adjacent to new" zones for the Season 3 and expansion.

 Combine two reworked zones along with mounts, level increase to 65, gear score increase to 70, reworked mutations, and a new weapon with the Flail and it is silly to think $30 is too high a price tag for the expansion.

Sunday, September 10, 2023

Friday, September 08, 2023

Starfield: In one sense, you do have a vehicle, you obviously have your spaceship


 Todd Howard, overlord of Starfield development, gave a surprising answer recently when asked about the lack of land vehicles in the game.

“In one sense, you do have a vehicle, you obviously have your spaceship so you can go around space, but then on the surface, you do have a jetpack which you can upgrade,” Howard continued. “Obviously, planets have different levels of gravity, which makes that (travel) unique for many planets.”

 I am wondering what game Todd is referring to.

 In the Starfield I've seen you can't actually fly your ship; it's just a series of loading screens.  If I could take off in the ship, hover over the planet's surface, and then fly it to a new location then I'd get his comments, but thats not how the game works... at all.  Your ship is a static element once landed and everything else is hoofed out on foot. 

 And NO; having a boost pack/jet pack is not a sufficient replacement to having land vehicles.

 We need land vehicles in Starfield!

New New World: Gear Progression Changes

new world umbral shards gone
 I wanted to start covering the myriad of changes coming to New World for it's expansion and season 3 balance changes.  There is a ton to unpack and no particular order to cover it in so I came up with this serious of posts titled "New New World: <topic>" because we are in fact getting an entirely new and fresh version of New World!  Today we are going to talk about the new gear progression system.

With Season 3 and the expansion there is an overhaul of the gear progression and acquisition systems.  

  • Expertise is being removed.  
  • Upgrading gear via umbral shards is gone.  
  • Gear score cap is now 700.  
  • Max level is now 65.  
  • Loot will now drop at an intended gear score and not require upgrading.
  • Loot bias will now be applied; loot will match the type of gear you have equipped when looting in.

 First, it is fan-freaking-tastic that expertise is being removed.  It was a pointless grind gating players from using items they acquired or making items they acquire effectively useless because they were not yet high enough expertise to get end game drops.  This also means no more having to run new players through content to get "expertise bumps".  

 In the place of expertise gear will simply drop at it's intended gear score level.  Thus if you do the hardest of hard content you can expect gear to drop at or close to the new max score of 700.  Progression in gear score will be based off acquiring better gear.

 The only thing I worry about with this new model is how fast crafters will be able to start making 700 gear score items.  Once crafters are making them then players will immediately be at 700 gear score.  I expect well funded companies having crafters cranking out gear fairly quickly after launch.  I hope this doesn't trivialize all the other methods to acquire gear.  I love crafters having a role to play but not at the expense of everything else.

 The last piece is "loot bias" whereby loot that drops will now be biased to be close to the gear you are currently wearing.  Playing a tank? Expect tank drops.  Play a healer? Expect healer drops.  The developers did state for chest rewards that you can change your gear before opening the chests/caches to influence what will drop.  So as a healer you could change to DPS gear before opening a series of chests to get DPS drops or vice versa a DPS could swap to healer gear to get healer drops.  I am hopeful this will work as advertised because I play oddball builds and if I can get more rewards targeted more at that oddball build then it's a win!

 Also a brief mention that the new level cap will be 65 and the extra 5 levels should go by fast.  I am fine with this change but it will be locked to those that own the expansion so players that don't buy the expansion will be left behind.  I hope AGS reconsiders that and lets everyone reach max level regardless of expansion ownership.  New World is much closer to Guild Wars 2 than it is games like World of Warcraft; it doesn't make sense here to tie level ranges to expansions.

Thursday, September 07, 2023

New New World: Influence Changes

 I wanted to start covering the myriad of changes coming to New World for it's expansion and season 3 balance changes.  There is a ton to unpack and no particular order to cover it in so I came up with this serious of posts titled "New New World: <topic>" because we are in fact getting an entirely new and fresh version of New World!

 With that said the first one I wanted to hit on was the changes to the influence mechanic for territory control and war declaration.  Summary of changes we know so far:

Capture new Influence Towers and strike down enemy Factions in open world combat for territorial supremacy. Each Faction will compete for Influence in specific zones during scheduled times. If an attacking Faction earns enough Influence through PvP Missions, Influence Towers, and Forts before the race ends, they’ll receive bonus rewards, plus the opportunity to declare War. If the defending Faction prevents the attackers from scoring enough Influence within the time limit, they’ll earn bonus rewards for both the Influence Race and the next War. Regardless of who wins, the attacking Faction with the most influence can escalate the conflict into War.

 The first aspect is that the influence races will be scheduled.  This is a good change from the current state where a territory could be pushed any time on any day.  The only issue with scheduled content is that you are out of luck if you don't play during those times so I am in "wait and see" on this change to determine how good of a change it is.  At a minimum it will concentrate open world PvP to specific time windows and areas on the map.

 The next aspect to discuss is the towers.  This adds more capture points than just the fort on the map.  This should help spread out the players and create interesting combat instead of just running around in the open fields or forests.  Anything that brings players together to fight is a win!

 PvP missions are mentioned as well which is a little disappointing.  These missions are boring and I had hoped they would be removed entirely and replaced by the open world objectives like the tower.  From follow up videos it sounds like the missions are now much shorter distances and with mounts that means they should be fast which worries me that whoever shows up with the most players will win as it will not be practical to defend against a bunch of players doing PvP missions (its about impossible today even with long range missions).

 The last note I will end on is the talk of "faction" vs company.  I may just be reading too much into "Faction with the most influence can escalate the conflict into War." but that reads like companies may not be the one's declaring war anymore?  And there would be a faction-wide declaration?  Is there more changing with war that we don't know about yet?  Probably just reading into it too much but would be cool to see more changes that are faction-based vs specific company.


Wednesday, September 06, 2023

AMD RX 7800 XT or 7900 XT? Help!

Update: I went with the 7900 XT ( XFX SPEEDSTER MERC310 Radeon RX 7900 XT )

AMD released their 7800 / 7700 XT cards today.  I had planned to buy one but watching reviews, such as Gamer's Nexus, it doesn't seem like the 7800 XT is standing out like I'd of expected.  Also the cost from sellers is $50+ over what AMD was advertising.  Thus I am back looking at 7900 XT (or XTX) cards at not that much more cost but with better performance.  Help!

 Another key is I want to get a copy of Starfield with the purchase.  Also I need to upgrade my PSU at the same time as my 650W is at it's max currently and a 7 series AMD will push it over a ledge.

 So I am looking for thoughts and input on 7900 vs 7800 XT cards and need opinions and thoughts!?

Tuesday, September 05, 2023

My The Chronicles of Spellborn screenshots from Flickr album

 Just preserving these images from an old Flickr album from 14 years ago (original post here) that I stumbled upon today!  The game was The Chronicles of Spellborn.

The Chronicles of Spellborn screenshot

The Chronicles of Spellborn screenshot

The Chronicles of Spellborn screenshot

The Chronicles of Spellborn screenshot

The Chronicles of Spellborn screenshot

The Chronicles of Spellborn screenshot

The Chronicles of Spellborn screenshot

The Chronicles of Spellborn screenshot

New World Gear Reset CONFIRMED

 I am comfortable now stating without the shadow of a doubt that the New World gear reset is CONFIRMED and your 625 gear is about to be yesterday's news.  The final nail in that coffin was the September developer update posted yesterday on YouTube when it was stated expertise will be gone and so will umbral shard upgrades on gear.  This was the final and full clarification we've been waiting on (past updates only touched on pieces).

 That is a long update, but the key aspect is at 5:49 where it is stated clearly that expertise is gone and umbral upgrading is gone.  Combine this with the updates that gear in the expansion will drop up to gear score 700 and we now know our beloved 625 gear is end of life.  The gear reset is real.  Get your salvage button ready and make room for all new clutter in your inventory and storage!

Monday, September 04, 2023

Starfield Hottake: Loading Screens

 Here is my first Starfield hot take: loading screens kill immersion.

 There are so many load screens in Starfield.  The worst offender being the aspects around ships.  Loading screen to get into the ship,  Loading screen to launch into space (you don't actually fly into space).  Loading screen to then fast travel to destination.  Loading screen to then land on a planet. Loading screen to then exit your ship. Since you landed right next to an outpost you will walk a few feet only to have another loading screen to enter the building.

 None of the loading seems too long, but the sheer quantity kills immersion.  I honestly don't know what I expected from a Bethesda RPG with the creation engine.

Sunday, September 03, 2023

New World Expansion on PTR

Let's go!

Friday, September 01, 2023

Blaugust 2023 Blaugchievements

Blaugust 2023 has come and gone.  It is time to check my blaugchievements!


Reading the Manual – By the time you have arrived at this page, you have probably already completed this blaugchievement. Essentially this is here to instill the importance of actually reading the introduction to Blaugust post.

- Complete!

Joining the Cause – This one is gained by filling out the sign-up form and choosing to participate in this year’s Blaugust event. If for some reason you cannot fill out the form, please contact me and I will collect your information to register you directly.

- Complete!

Recruit a Friend – Convince another blogger to participate in this year’s Blaugust event. This could be a brand new blogger but also could just be convincing another blogger out there to participate. Again much of the focus on Blaugust is to stir up activity in the community and get bloggers active again.

- Failed.  I have no friends.

Spreading the Madness – This one is gained by promoting the Blaugust event either on your own blog or through any of your favorite social media channels. Again we are trying to get more bloggers active to revive this art form.

- Complete!  All of my blog posts tagged for Blaugust 2023 and you can check my Mastodon, Twitter, and Threads for Blaugust mentions.

Friend of Wumpus
– This one is gained by signing up for the official Blaugust Discord. While this Discord was created for this event, it stays surprisingly active all year round and becomes a locus of our community.

- Complete!

Sharing is Caring – This one is gained through posting your content in the “Share-Your-Content” channel on the Blaugust Discord. It is good to get in the habit of doing this because often times topics posted end up spurring additional discussion.

- Complete!

Forum of Friends – This one is gained through participating in a discussion in the “Post-Discussion” channel on the Blaugust Discord. Often times this is where active discussion happens about posts and serves as a real-time extended comments section.

- Complete

The Pet Tax – This one is gained through posting a picture of an animal friend in the “Stuff-and-Things” channel on the Blaugust Discord or by creating a content post devoted to that animal. This is preferably your pet, but if you do not have any pets then posting any cute animals will suffice. This is quite possibly the most important achievement.

- Does it count if I did it today (9/1)? Complete!

Friend Like Me – This one is gained through answering a question or helping out another blogger on the Blaugust Discord. We have a number of channels like “Blogging-Help” or “Writing-Prompts” designed to help folks out. Any sort of helpful interaction is appreciated and rewarded with a toast.

- Complete!  I suggested writing prompts such as the #MondayBlogs hashtag, my Steam backlog posts, and GamesMadeMe posts.

Shared Thoughts – This one is gained by leaving a comment on another participating Blaugust blog. While a lot of focus is made on Discord, it is always a good idea to leave a comment directly on a blog since there will be folks who are not already active in this community.

- Complete! I visited several blogs this past month and left comments. I even keep going back to a few!  Some folks even commented on my blog!

Federation of Bloggers – Create a social media account on any of the Fediverse platforms (Mastodon, Pleroma, Calckey, Misskey, etc) and follow the official Blaugust Mastodon account. This account lives on Gamepad.Club which coincidentally is a lovely Mastodon Server if you don’t have one already in mind. During the event, the Blaugust account will be boosting posts made with the #Blaugust2023 hashtag.

- Complete!  I moved over to's Mastodon.

Getting Inspired – Often times reading a blog post will inspire us to create our own post connected to the same concept. There are times that I have things to say that are far too long to cram into a comments section. This blaugchievement is gained by writing a blog post that has been inspired by another blog post from a Blaugust participant.

- Complete!  I visited multiple bloggers in the first week and featured their content and my thoughts about it on this blog. 

Pickup Group – This one is gained by playing a game or joining in an external event with other Blaugust participants. We have the “Gaming-Together” channel and sometimes groups come out of that, and there was some discussion about someone hosting a one-shot pen and paper game. The whole goal here is to get you mingling with other members and building permanent bonds.

- Failed! I don't have friends.  I didn't play with others.

Hot Topics – Write at least one blog post based on the Blaugust Prompt List. Some years ago we had this whole “topic web ring” sort of thing that was a giant mess. However it did produce a pretty solid list of topical prompts, and my hope is that someone participating in this event will find them useful.

- Complete! I hit multiple prompts such as revisiting my origin story for blogging.

Welcome Wagon – This one is gained by writing a blog post based on the first week’s theme of welcoming folks to Blaugust. Hint, this may also count as the “Spreading the Madness” achievement. The idea is to get some activity in those early days of Blaugust to potentially expand our members and have folks join mid-event.

- Complete! On the first day of blogger... new bloggers!

Introduce Yourself – This one is gained by writing a blog post based on the second week’s theme of introducing yourself to the community. If you are a veteran, chances are you have already written more than one introductory post, so this can also be focused on just telling people about something in your life or some accomplishment. The exchange of information is key to creating those strong long-term bonds, and as such this serves its purpose.

- Complete! This was a fun one: first I revisited my first blog post ever and second I wrote one of my longest posts ever about games that made me the gamer I am today.

Creative Appreciation – This one is gained by writing a blog post based on the third week’s theme of creative appreciation. This has morphed over the year and began its life as a completely different initiate called “Developer Appreciation Week”. Now the goal is to focus more generically on those who create things that you appreciate. It could be an artist, writer, game developer, streamer, YouTuber, podcaster, or another blogger. The goal is to share something you love and talk about what makes you love it… and maybe introduce new people to this thing you care about.

- Complete! I featured my favorite New World creators , some MMO creators, and thanked NEFFEX for their copyright free music. 

Staying Motivated – This one is gained by writing a blog post based on the fourth week’s theme of staying motivated. The goal here is to share your own experiences in how you have managed to stay motivated during this challenge. The struggle with blogging is doing so in a consistent manner because it is all too easy to fall off the face of the earth never to be heard from again.

- Complete! My favorite post was how I deal with temptations to want to play too many games!

Lessons Learned – This one is gained by writing a blog post based on the fifth week’s theme of lessons learned. Often times when you go through an event like Blaugust, you learn something about yourself in the process. The goal here is to share that information with others so that our experiences that benefit those who come after us.

- Complete! Multiple posts but my favorite was about my Steam backlog.  

Going Platinum – What would a series of achievements be if there was not a “Platinum Trophy”. This one is gained by completing all of the achievements above during Blaugust.

/cry... so close