Friday, April 19, 2024

Wilderness here I come!

A screenshot of an email inviting me to the Pax Dei alpha test
Yay!

 I've been invited to the next Pax Dei alpha test entitled "Wilderness".  This will be my first time testing the game and I am looking forward to this one.  Part survival, part builder, and an MMORPG - right up my alley!

Some more info on the Pax Dei Wilderness Alpha

What can you expect in this Alpha?

For this second large-scale test, we’re going on an adventure!
 
Our team has been hard at work on every aspect of the game related to challenges, and we now want to test that foundation with our community.

We hope you will have a great time, and we are looking forward to your feedback.

  •  Gear up. We have revamped and introduced new statistics for all gear in the game. With hundreds of items for mixing and matching, you will have no lack of choices in crafting your own role.
  •  It is dangerous to go alone. Denizens of the world will now present a real challenge. Don’t wander away from home without a party and the proper equipment.
  • Master your weapons. We’ve added new spells, combat abilities, and weapon types. Keep an eye on their durability, you don’t want them to break when you need them the most.
  • Welcome to Fight Club. Divine peace doesn’t extend to Lyonesse, our new province. Enter here at your own (mortal) peril, if you’re willing to try out our first iteration on PVP.
  • Build & craft away. We've made multiple changes to the peaceful aspect of the game as well, be sure to check our release notes for a comprehensive overview.


Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Fallout to the Fallout

Fallout TV series
 

 The Fallout series on Amazon is all the rage and rightfully so as it recreates not only the theme of the games but also the quirkiness.  I am one episode in and even I, the can't-ever-seem-to-play-single-player-games gamer, am contemplating a jump back into the Fallout games.

 I was reading Tales of the Aggronaut and the post from Belghast: Radioactive Nostalgia.  Both in title and content the post was spot on.  The Fallout TV (is it really TV?) series is spot on translating the game to the screen.  From the look of characters to the well-placed medpacks on the walls everything just feels right in the first episode and I can't imagine it gets too far off later in the season.  

 It is so good that it has many players such as Belghast back and playing the Fallout games.  Even I'm considering going back to Fallout 3 or 4 which I never finished.  Or maybe like Belghast I revisit my favorite in the series: New Vegas.  Regardless of my decision the SteamDB charts don't lie: lots of folks are returning to Fallout games with the popularity of the TV series (see charts below).  You might say there is some fallout... to the Fallout.

A screen capture of a chart on SteamDB showing player count in a Fallout video game

A screen capture of a chart on SteamDB showing player count in a Fallout video game

A screen capture of a chart on SteamDB showing player count in a Fallout video game

A screen capture of a chart on SteamDB showing player count in a Fallout video game

A screen capture of a chart on SteamDB showing player count in a Fallout video game



 

Monday, April 15, 2024

Major Anvil Empires Test Coming!

Anvil is a massively multiplayer game where thousands of players work together to build empires, wage war, and conquer in a persistent online world. March alongside armies of players in massive melee battles and large scale sieges.

 The season of MMO tests marches forward!  Anvil Empires moves into it's next major testing period on April 18th.  I have not posted about this game before but it caught my attention for a few reasons I'd like to share.

 First, the game is from the same developer as Foxhole and while I never got deep into Foxhole the promise of the game was amazing.   Foxhole is a WW2 themed game where everything must be created by the players; every bullet, gun, vehicle.  Not only that but they must all be transported to the frontline and the frontline isn't static.  Players can dig and build and then destroy anywhere.  Frontlines form naturally where force meets force.  Foxhole is a big sandbox.

 Second, Anvil Empires features an isometric view which always has my nostalgia ringing for the days of Ultima Online.  The view evokes something deep inside of me that I can't explain; like a gamer looking down upon a tabletop game and imaging all of the possibilities.

 While I like the isometric view that was not the case for Foxhole where I found it very limiting for the context.  In Foxhole I have a gun or a vehicle with a gun but I can't see more than a little bit in front and behind me which made it very hard to get a broader sense of the battlefield.  While this was all part of the design and gave value to certain things it also felt constraining to me as a player.

 In the medieval context of Anvil Empires I think the view will work better.  There is more melee scrums than there will be long range warfare.  The view supports that action better.

 On top of the view and pedigree of the developers other hit there is a lot of depth to the game that has been announced so far.  There is homesteading so you can make your mark in the world all the way up to empire building to dominate the world.  And that world is persistent so should minimize how much instanced content there is.

 If the team can deliver Foxhole but in a fantasy/medieval setting then I'm sold.


Sunday, April 14, 2024

Hide UI in New World?

new world

 Hiding the UI in New World used to be Alt+H, but after Season 5 it was changed to a default of F10.  That's it.  That's the post.  You can change the key bind in settings if you want.

Friday, April 12, 2024

Venom Bunny!? New World S5 PvP Build

 Came across this New World PvP build from TrickTrick and figured I'd share for anyone looking for a meta build for S5.  This is also very capable in PvE.  The build is Venom Bunny so expect a lot of hopping and get your rabbit facemask skins ready.

 NW Champ link: https://nwchamp.com/Venom-Bunny
 Build video: https://youtu.be/AdYr6PZ7uiI?si=w170iIDDo20NPmWk

 I watch a lot of build videos but what I like about this one is that it has mostly named armor pieces and weapons which are more reasonable to acquire.  Yes, many of these are PvP track named items which can take time to unlock in the tracks but that is probably faster than getting the gold for crafted pieces.  If you PvP frequently then you have probably got a copy of these named items (assume you horde gear like I do).

 Even the weapons are named.  Venom is the new spear artifact from the Siren Queen's arena which, while group PvE content, is dead simple and lots of groups are currently doing it.  The sword options are also named drops that most players probably have salvaged copies of many times before (hoping you saved one in your stash of gear for a rainy day).

 Also I'll admit this is the build I hate running into.  Sword and shield/Spear is the bane of my Frigid Inferno heavy armor flamethrower build.  Too many stuns and interrupts to be able to do any flamethrowing.  Even if I can throw some flame; shield block is a winning defense.

 Enjoy!

Thursday, April 11, 2024

Eye on Aeternum or Eye on clues? Hippos!?

 The New World team recently started a new video series called: Eye On Aeternum.  With the first one (see video below) the team gave a heads up to keep an eye out (ha!) for clues to future changes coming to New World (similar to how they hid a controller in the background of a video before they announced controller support).


 So of course the community has been eyes wide open and recently we came across.... a hippo!?

An image from a New World developer update showing a hippo in the background
Not so subtle hippo clue!

 For anyone not up to speed on the history of the hippo conversation: when mounts were announced there was a community question about whether hippos would be a possible future mount type.  That idea was shot down but in being shut down the idea -- the possibility -- of hippos was born.

 Personally my interest in hippos comes from the book series River of Teeth by Sarah Gailey. The book series is based on a "what if" scenario:

Years ago, in an America that never was, the United States government introduced herds of hippos to the marshlands of Louisiana to be bred and slaughtered as an alternative meat source. This plan failed to take into account some key facts about hippos: they are savage, they are fast, and their jaws can snap a man in two.

 The book idea is based on a real historical proposal to do what happens in the book: bring hippos to the "new world".  The book expands the idea where hippos become reliable companions/mounts.  There is also the real example of the "cocaine hippos" in Columbia as well.  So while hippos seem far fetched there is some historical context to play with when we consider Aeternum is an island that has visitors from many time periods.  Hippos are also cool.

 There is already a statement from the devs that the plush hippo was just forgotten on set but I'm not buying it.  The same as I wasn't buying that the controller was "just there" in it's original video.  What realistically could we get out of this in the game? My guess would be a pet system and a mini-hippo as a pet; or just a hippo pet as a housting decoration like we have dogs/rabbits/etc today.  My dream though is a hippo mount!

Wednesday, April 10, 2024

A Ghost No More

 Fantastic Pixel Castle (that's the developer) has shared some early prototyping for their future MMORPG under the project name "Ghost".  Ghost for Ghostcrawler who recently left the Riot MMO project to start this new adventure.

Concept art for Fantastic Pixel Castle's ghost mmo

 Ghost is also a ghost no more as we actually get to see some early glimpses on what they are working on.  For anyone keeping track, yes that is more information in a few months time than we've gotten in the years of Ghostcrawler when he worked on the Riot MMO.  The Riot MMO is still a thing though apparently.

 What I liked about this Milestone 1 update was that it talked about wanting players as part of the process while admitting the natural problems that arise from that such as "this game looks like garbage" when showing off early prototype content.  It was reassuring to hear a developer talk through the reality of letting the players ride along with development.  There is a good head on their shoulders here.

 I also like that they went with UE5, a known game engine, instead of what every other "I quit my company and started my own MMO" project seems to do thinking they can build their own engine.  UE5 is powering so many games so good to see another one on the list.  It should help the team move along faster than some others in the past few years working on their own engines.

 And proving it is helping the team along the post highlights some screenshots and feedback from early prototyping (note: this was using premade assets in the UE store so is not representative of the game).  They want to focus on combat and their concept of red/blue zones (static vs procedural) and had both up and going in the prototype.  It is refreshing to see a team that appears focused on a core idea and are "failing fast" through it.

Prototype screenshot for Fantastic Pixel Castle's ghost mmo
Prototype gameplay with UE assets

 This was a cool step of a game's life that we don't get to see all that often.  This update was a fun read and I am looking forward to more.  This game is years away but its looking to be an enjoyable ride to take along with the team.  They also have a podcast, Word on the Street, that I' m going to check out.

Monday, April 08, 2024

Eclipse Resources

 If needed there is really only one resource you need for today's (4/8/2024) eclipse and that is NASA's "Where & When" page with the below map.

A map of the total solar eclipse for April 8th 2024
Total Eclipse Map from NASA

 And for us gamer's out there; the gamer version of the eclipse.

 

An image showing Pokemon Moon and Pokemon Sun to represent an eclipse


Friday, April 05, 2024

Best Battlefield!?

 Jack Frags published a recent video going over the Battlefield Reddit communities vote for "Best Battlefield game ever".  Surprisingly the winner was Battlefield 1 which happened to also be available on Steam for the low sales price of $5.99.  Having not played BF1 and being apparently the "best one" I had to give it a go.


 Before I jump into my initial impressions let's review my last personal "favorite Battlefield" list (at least as far as I can find in my 20 years of blog content): https://www.heartlessgamer.com/2011/11/battlefield-3-is-step-back.html

My list at the time in 2011:

1. Battlefield 2
2. Battlefield 1942
3. Battlefield: Bad Company 2
4. Battlefield Heroes
5. Battlefield 3 

  Since that is 13 years (yikes) old let me update it:

1. Battlefield 2
2. Battlefield 1942
3. Battlefield: Bad Company 2
4. Battlefield 2042
5. Battlefield Heroes

 There.  All is right with the world.  The community has a different opinion with Battlefield 1, Battlefield 3, and Battlefield 4 being the top three.  Personally, I didn't jive with Battlefield 3.  I played a good bit of it but it didn't supplant the others.  I never played Battlefield 4 (because of my feelings about 3) and originally the theme of Battlefield 1 was not attractive so I skipped it.

 More recently I've had a side addiction to Battlefield 2042.  I didn't get it at launch so missed all the launch drama and came in well after the game had significant changes to make it more Battlefield-like.  I am in the minority listing this as one of my favorite Battlefield games.  2042 has a bad reputation from that launch drama.  For me though it hits a sweet spot in theme (near future) and a good balance between infantry and vehicle.  I really enjoy it and haven't enjoyed a Battlefield game this much since BFBC2.

 Battlefield 1

 On to Battlefield 1 then. I've put about 3 hours in so far and it is definitely a different experience than other Battlefields.  Part of it is the setting being World War 1 but also that the game seems stuck between the old days of server browsers and the new days of "quick match" push button experiences.

 Personally I couldn't get quick match to work as there was never enough players to start the matches.  The campaign mode also didn't seem to work.  This pushed me into the server browser and there were only a few servers to pick from with reasonable ping.

 Once in a match the visuals are top notch.  I grabbed some screenshots riding around on a horse as cavalry and for a game that is seven years old it looks pretty good.  The maps are also visually stunning and some feature a grand scope.  I stopped a few times to look at something.

A screenshot from Battlefield 1 showing horse cavalary

A screenshot from Battlefield 1 showing horse cavalary

 I can't say I've ever played a WW1 themed game so some of the aspects caught me by surprise such as the horse cavalry, the biplanes, and coolest of all: the armored train!  The first time I was on a map when the train came rolling through was pretty dang cool.

 With those surprises it made me realize there is a lot I don't understand about this Battlefield.  Sure there are points on the map to conquer and the classic Battlefield classes to pick from, but as far as how stuff like the train works I don't know.  The maps are also proving difficult for me to grok and some rounds are really rough learning where you can and can't stick your head out.

 I think I'll put a few more hours into the game but it's not grabbing me like 2042 did.  Its a good break from the faster pace and more technically capable vehicles of 2042 though so has a slot currently with New World being on the slow down.

Wednesday, April 03, 2024

The Big Upgrade: Ryzen 5 3600X to Ryzen 7 5800X3D

Hooray; I've upgraded my CPU: Ryzen 5 3600X to Ryzen 7 5800X3D!

An image of the benefits of the AMD Ryzen 7 5800x3D CPU

The Ryzen 7 5800X3D is a powerful processor that offers substantial improvements over the Ryzen 5 3600X. In this blog post, I’ll explore the key differences, gaming performance gains, and considerations for upgrading.

Performance Benchmarks

I’ve looked at extensive benchmarks to compare these two CPUs across various games and applications. Here are some highlights:

a. Gaming Performance

  • CS:GO: The 5800X3D outperforms the 3600X by 81% in 1% lows and boosts the average frame rate by 55%.
  • Assetto Corsa Competizione: The 5800X3D provides a staggering 95% increase in frame rates compared to the 3600X.
  • Cyberpunk 2077: Even in GPU-bound scenarios, the 5800X3D maintains a significant lead, with up to 55% higher average frame rates.

Value and Considerations

  • The Ryzen 7 5800X3D is a worthwhile upgrade for gamers seeking top-tier performance.
  • If you have a powerful GPU and prioritize gaming, the 5800X3D will deliver substantial gains.
  • Keep in mind that the 3600X is still a capable CPU, especially if budget constraints are a concern.

Conclusion

Upgrading to the Ryzen 7 5800X3D is a smart move if you want the best gaming performance. However, consider your GPU and use case before making the switch. Happy upgrading!

Remember to check compatibility with your motherboard and ensure proper cooling for optimal performance. Enjoy your new CPU!

Tuesday, April 02, 2024

Day 1: New World Season 5

 New World Season 5 is here and there are a lot of changes to go with it.  Here are my Day 1 thoughts with a few of the changes.

 The major change is the rewrite of the combat code and animation system.  The good news is they didn't screw it up and anyone logging in today vs yesterday is not going to see anyproblems.  Combat feels snappier and more responsive.  After playing through an outpost rush (OPR) match all of my fears of this change going poorly were alleviated.  Well done AGS!

 Even outside of combat feels improved.  I tend to take the same route through the town of Ebonscale Reach which involves a lot of jumping and flying off edges using skills like Leaping Strike from my sword.  I have done these moves so many times they are ingrained in my memory and they feel so much better now with the changes.  I wish I had video to show the difference but alas I've not kept up my promising of recording video.

 Next are the armor weight balance changes; specifically looking at heavy armor.  My comments are formed off a single outpost rush match so take it with a passing grain of salt.  Through that match it... felt... the same.  I was tanky and did good damage and a solid K/D of 12/6.  Heavy melee, especially sword and shield/spear, were still dominant in the melee scrums.  I am sure the math works out that heavy damage is less but not sure it will feel that way for many.  I did see more heavy armor players get dropped though and at times I felt a little weaker defensively so we'll have to watch over time.

 One thing I didn't expect to talk about but sort of jumped right out at me is the PvP track reward updates.  As a PvP rank 200 player I am at the top end of the reward curve so I can't speak to the lower levels that get lower gearscore rewards now, but at least for me at 200 the item rewards are much more relevant.  My first track featured two 697 GS legendary swords and a 700 GS named amulet.  Also there is new PvP furniture for the house, which of course I bought immediately.  The high GS rewards were a nice change and I can see myself snagging some (which I did with the 700 GS amulet). 

A screenshot showing PvP track rewards in the game New World
There is a bug with item text but just some of the PvP track rewards for me today. 

 

A screenshot showing New World PvP track rewards after the Season 5 changes
Nice rewards!

 Last we have mounts enabled in OPR and boy did it feel different!  I really, really like seeing a swarm of players on mounts ride into the central fort on the map and all come flying off as the first attacks start dismounting players.  Tossing a giant fireball from one side of the fort to the other and seeing multiple players get dismounted is awesome.

 As far as my single OPR match went the immediate changes noticed was that all forts were constantly under contention and I saw more points flip and more points get contested than I can remember in any OPR match.  I attribute this increased fort fighting due to less folks getting bogged down on the roads.

 There is some strategy as well to dismounting players in OPR since ranged attacks cause players to get dismounted. If you control the central fort and can put ranged on the wall they can really slow down mounted players trying to skirt the fort.

 The baroness fight (aka baron) also changed a good bit due to mounts.  I saw more players make it to the baron fight and in my OPR match we had three baron fights.  Each fight had both teams present and each time baron was "sniped" by the team with less players.  Baron or fort fights the key is mounts lets players get to the action faster and more reliably and that feels good! 

Resting in my new Champion's Canopy Bed!

 Up next for me in Season 5

  1. New artifacts
  2. 3v3 arenas where I'll get a better sense on balance changes
  3. New season trial (not clear it was active yet)
  4. Cooking changes (we'll see if I care enough to check them out)

Monday, April 01, 2024

Windsward 300

 Just a milestone from New World.  I hit level 300 in Windsward town experience which is my first max level city.  Windsward is my main crafting hub and crafting is the fastest way to reach 300.  My next highest city is 170ish.

new world windsward 300