Friday, June 28, 2024

I miss my monster truck in Just Cause 2

 I miss my monster truck from Just Cause 2.  Such a fun game!  Here are some screenshots to remember it by.

A screenshot of a monster truck from the game Just Cause 2

A screenshot of a monster truck from the game Just Cause 2

A screenshot of a monster truck from the game Just Cause 2
What goes up must come down


Thursday, June 27, 2024

Do you remember Global Agenda?

 Do you remember Global Agenda?  I don't particularly myself, but I had a few posts on the game back in 2011 so spent some time with it.  Browsing through screenshots to share recently I came across this one from the game.

A screenshot from the game Global Agenda

Wednesday, June 26, 2024

Screenshot: Why are you in my bed?

 Months later and I still don't know why this guy is in the bed on my ship in Starfield.

A screenshot of an NPC in a spaceship bed in the game Starfield
Who are you!?

Tuesday, June 25, 2024

I'll be in my canoe

nothern tier scouting america
Northern Tier

 I am off to Northern Tier with my son's Boy Scout Troop.  We'll be spending a week on the water canoeing the boundary waters between Minnesota and Canada.  I've scheduled some simple posts to go out on the blog while I am away so enjoy!

Monday, June 24, 2024

Fishing Russian Style

 As I dabble around games and completely avoid my Steam backlog I decided to give Russian Fishing 4 a try.  What I found was a deep and complex fishing game.

A screenshot of a fish in Russian Fishing 4

 First, I will admit the fish species and baits are foreign to me as an angler who fishes in the USA.  That does not, however, change the feeling of seeing a fishing pole bend over when a fish is hooked or the relief when the fish lands in your hands.

 My other most recent fishing game experience was with Call of the Wild: the Angler which is much more on the arcade end of the fishing simulation.  In comparison Russian Fishing 4 is much more on the realistic simulation side.

 This more realistic approach is evident from the moment I stepped into the tutorial.  I started with a "cane pole" (fishing line attached to a pole; no reel) and did some float fishing.  The game offers no strike or other indication of a fish.  I was required to watch the float and set the hook when the fish ran off with the bait pulling the float with it.

 The tutorial also goes through fishing with a spinning reel which works without indicator aside from poles pending and fishing line moving.  This is about as realistic as a video game could get aside from having a rumble feature of some sort to give haptic feedback to me as a player.

 I liked this approach more than I do the arcade model of CotW:Angler.  There is also many other "real fishing" features that I liked about my first couple of hours in Russian Fishing 4.  I can place my fishing rods on the ground so I can have one out with bait and use the other for active casting with lures.  Its quite fun to juggle putting down one reel to scramble and get the other one.  Funny as well when you wander a bit far and forget about the rod you set down entirely.

 Underneath the fishing is also a deep and complex progression system.  There are skills for everything from creating your own baits to all the aspects of fishing (cast distance, cast accuracy, retrieval, etc).  I barely scratched the surface so far but it hits that part of your brain where you are always saying "one more cast... one more fish" before realizing its 2 AM and you need to go to sleep.

 The game is free to play but has some form of pass you can buy which looks to expedite progression, but I've not felt compelled so far to buy in.  The free experience scratches that realistic fishing sim itch pretty good.  I'd love a version of this that is more USA focused and it's possible later maps I can get onto have USA waters and fish species, but at the end of the day a fish is a fish is a fish and they are fun to catch anywhere in the world.


A screenshot from the game Russian Fishing 4
Decent enough looking water and maps

A screenshot from the game Russian Fishing 4
Fish on!

A screenshot from the game Russian Fishing 4
One rod float fishing (left) and active fishing right next to it.  A cool mechanic many other fishing games don't offer!

Friday, June 21, 2024

Once Human's Seasonal Resets

 One aspect of Once Human that intrigues me is their plan for seasonal resets.  Every six weeks the world will rest and a new chapter of the story will be revealed.  Along with it characters will start fresh for that new season.  I think this is an interesting model so wanted to share some more thoughts on it.

 First, a summary of what a season is in Once Human 

 In Once Human, seasons will introduce fresh gameplay experiences within a fixed timeframe, featuring new stories, events, and mechanics. Each season is divided into stages with unique challenges and objectives. Players start anew at the beginning of every season, but can carry over certain progress and items to the next season.

 The best comparison I can make is to Crowfall where campaigns came and went and players extracted materials from the campaign to use with their "crow" (character) in the next campaign.  Crowfall also had Eternal Kingdoms that were persistent hubs for players to build up as a more permanent hold.  Once Human is planning a similar feature with Eternaland.

Eternaland serves as a personal "bubble world" for each player that persists between seasons, allowing them to build and keep structures across resets
 This model looks to keep things fresh for players and help avoid power creep in the long run as players are brought back to level playing field regularly.  However it is at the cost of persistence so Eternaland makes sense.  To note; as far as I could tell Eternaland was not available in the demo and its not clear we have any players that can share hands on experience with it.

 Personally what I enjoyed most about the Once Human demo was the core loop of clearing enemy camps, gathering stuff, and coming back to build up the base.  The story helps as it drove me to explore more of the world and thus find more camps to clear/loot. 

 That sort of gameplay loop would eventually run out of steam if the base and my character and base persisted forever.  The season resetting and having me start fresh will keep me in that loop longer.  Now it is yet to be seen if that will be enjoyable to start over as the fine details of what carries over or does not carry over is to be seen, but I like the idea.

 I can also liken the experience to my experiences in New World; specifically server merge days.  While it wasn't cool to think less players over all were playing the game (hence server merges) it was actually a neat experience those first few days after server merge.  The somewhat stale cycle of your server was turned over and new faces/enemies/friends/etc came available.  Everything felt good for a couple weeks before thing settled in again.  

 I don't think it's wrong to think Once Human's resets will create that same sort of "server merge day" feeling.  Six weeks also feels long enough to be useful for progression but not long enough to feel like you've lost everything because of a reset.  It will likely feel weird for players that start playing right around a season ending but there is always a feeling of "I need to catch up" when you join a game past its launch.

 I will hold my final verdict until I get to move through a reset, but I think its a neat way to keep the game fresh.  I am also interested in Eternaland and what it will offer for players to have a sense of persistent progression outside of the seasons.

Thursday, June 20, 2024

Not Pax Dei's Day

 Pax Dei launched into early access with a whimper.  Reviews are mixed and the Steam charts are mediocre compared to other meteoric early access releases this year.  Content creator reactions are tepid.  Jay Oddity summed it up best in his first impressions video when he commented that the game is like a sandbox without any toys.

Steam charts for the early access launch of Pax Dei
Not bad.  Not good.  Pax Dei hitting 11,531 peak concurrent players in a year where we've seen multiple games in the survival/crafting genre hit 100,000+.

 This wasn't too unexpected.  My own feedback after the last alpha test was that there wasn't much to the game other than long crafting grinds and combat so bad you may as well not call it a combat system.  In more recent comments on Blue Sky I mentioned the game had at most a week of content (maybe more since they stuck with the time gated crafting progression from the last alpha).

 I don't want the game to fail.  I want an MMO at some point that does the things that Pax Dei says it will do.  I am also a supporter of games coming to early access as I'd rather play a game and see it evolve than to not be playing.  However, you have to have more than an barren sandbox as Pax Dei does currently.

 For what it's worth; I have no intent to play Pax Dei at this point.

Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Throne & Liberty Global Release!

 I picked up on the news for Throne & Liberty's global release plan via Mr O on Youtube.  The announcement comes with a new trailer.  The game launches on September 17th with a beta in July.

 I am looking forward to giving the game a try as it looks to have a complex and in depth end game system that has lots of different PvP options.  Also based on updates to the Korean version it sounds like they are working to make the game more friendly to solo / small group players vs the original version in Korea which has been dominated by large guilds.

Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Where I'm At With New World

New World Aeternum

 After reading Massively OPs article, Massively Overthinking: The New World Aeternum debacle, I wrote a long comment I wanted to capture on my blog as well.  It really captures where I am at with the whole situation and I'd prefer to spend no more energy on the topic for now.

As one of the louder New World fanboys who was devastated by this turn of events I have come around to this take on the situation: they screwed up communication but this is actually the right step for the game.

Out of all the MMORPGs I’ve played (which is practically all of them in the last 30 years) New World is one of the few that I feel makes sense on console. It’s action combat system fits consoles and that action combat extends to the rest of the game where you spend a lot of time involved with the game world and not a bunch of time with UIs like many MMOs.

So I think console was the right direction and having cross play and shared servers between PC and console was the right move. Also since AGS has shown a higher-than-normal focus towards MMORPGs (regardless of this recent genre twisting) and is working on other MMOs then I want them improving the base line tech for future games.

I also think there is some good content coming. The lawless PvP zone, raid, cross server arenas (my key item), sharding (assumed larger server sizes), and gear score increase to 725. All things the community has been begging for. Did they hit everything the community wanted? No, but that is still a fair shake of items.

The only issue with it is the wait time and AGS needs to improve their speed of delivery. I am hoping with the console transition done they go full bore on content delivery. I really think the game has a second wind coming and we’ll be talking about it at it’s 10 year mark similar to how we’ve seen GW2 and ESO both ascend post initial declines.

With that said they absolutely cannot f-up communication like this again. I was a huge “trust but verify” player before this and now I’m “zero trust”.

Monday, June 17, 2024

Screenshot Monday: Mountain Temple in New World

 I was out and about in New World's Ebonscale Reach zone when I caught a chance to grab a screenshot of one of the temple's on the nearby mountain top.  Regardless of all the doom around New World right now it never fails to disappoint in the visuals.

A screenshot of a mountain temple in the game New World's Ebonscale Reach zone


Friday, June 14, 2024

Once Human: I'm Addicted

heart Once Human

 I love Once Human and cannot get enough of the current demo even though I know all of my progress is for nothing when the demo closes down in a few days.  I'm hooked!  Some more screenshots and commentary from this morning's adventure.  

 One new thing I unlocked was gardening which includes in-ground gardens, raised garden beds, and a composting system.  The composting system was key because I also learned that all the food I cooked has now gone spoiled.  Apparently you need to build a refrigerator and place the food there to keep it fresh (or craft dried foods that last longer before spoiling).  I was able to turn 100+ spoiled food into compost which any gardener knows is "black gold" for plants.  Adding the compost to my growing plants let them grow faster.

 Continuing with the theme of the game dripping out surprises I met a new character in the story quest named T-Man who had a television as a head.  That is on point for a game where many characters have various real world objects as an appendage.

 I also got quite a surprise with what I thought was a routine "go and get this item" quest when after interacting with the "item" I ended up teleporting into a rift zone of some sort.  I had to battle tangled giant roots before I faced off with a big boss.  This was honestly the first challenging fight I've encountered in the game.  I ended up having to cheese it a bit by standing behind a rock that it couldn't figure out away to attack me behind.  

 As noted in my other post they need to make the enemies smarter so their difficulty can shine through.  Other than cheesing behind the rock the fight was really cool and full of mechanics.

A screenshot from the game Once Human showing T-Man
T-Man my good friend; what's on tonight?

A screenshot from the game Once Human
I probably shouldn't have touched this.

A screenshot from the game Once Human
Teleported to a rift zone of some sort.

A screenshot from the game Once Human
A new deviation.  This one goes out and collects ore for me. Note it get's bonuses from me having a radio playing music in my base as well as being next to a furnace giving it warmth.

A screenshot from the game Once Human
Gardening in real life is one of my favorite hobbies alongside gaming so I LOVE being able to garden in games as well!


Thursday, June 13, 2024

Once Human is a multiplayer survival game with a Stranger Things vibe

Once Human

 With the dark days of New World upon us and Elder Scrolls Online not cutting it I was on the search for newer games to give a try.  I had caught bits and pieces of Once Human in various places, but did not realize it was so close to release.  To my surprise there was a demo available.  One download later I was in and enjoying a new game!  Hours later I think I'm hooked!

 Once Human is a looter shooter survival crafting builder sandbox massively online game with a theme that is hard to explain.  Players play as a "mayfly" that has some connection to some alternate realm (maybe time travel?) and go around the world fighting sci-fi zombie-like creatures.  Simpler: it's a multiplayer survival game with a Stranger Things vibe.

A screenshot of a player created in Once Human
The character creator offers a lot of options; heart face tattoos included!

 The introduction to the game walks the player through some background about being a mayfly and having access to what are called deviations.  Deviations are best compared to Pokemon.  When a player encounters one you have a % chance of capturing it.  Once captured players can stick it in their backpack containment unit and use it in combat (though later on there are some that I've found that are more general purpose; like a balloon animal dog that generates balloons for crafting).

A screenshot showing a deviation from the game Once Human
The starting deviation

 Along with the deviations the player also gets access to an arsenal of modern day weapons and armor.  My favorite weapon set up far has been using a crossbow for ranged fights and a machete and shotgun for up close and personal encounters.  Of course all the weapon and armor can be crafted, upgraded, and eventually recycled.

 The tutorial progresses through the survival game staples: build a camp, chop down trees, break up rocks, and do a little starter crafting.  The tutorial then culminates in a big boss fight and when I say big I mean BIG.  A giant shadow creature with what looks like an embedded cell phone tower attacks the tutorial base with waves of creatures.  The base has functional defense systems that start mowing down the creatures while the player takes on the big boss.  Thematically amazing but mechanically easy.


A screenshot from the game Once Human showing a big tower boss
The tutorial boss is a giant tower creature!

 Past the tutorial the player is left to venture the world.  The game has a clever journey system that sets out a series of tasks that help the player learn the game.  It also gives step by step instructions on how to complete each step.  For example; "train this skill", then open this menu and press K, then do this specific action.  It is a simple idea and well done.  I found myself using it regularly to find things to do.

 There is also a story quest to follow which takes the player around the world.  I didn't want to go too far into the story since this was a demo period.  So far the story was nothing amazing but so far has been fully voice acted which is nice and each segment doesn't overstay it's welcome.

 Like other survival games one of the main objectives is to build a base and upgrade it so once I was past the initial story quest I got busy chopping down trees, breaking up rocks, and collecting material.  I started my base at the top of a hill but soon realized that limited expansion.  Fortunately the game makes it easy to move your entire base; just open up the build mode, press Z, and plop it down anywhere you want.  I ended up selecting a nice and flat roadside location.

 I got to crafting all the various crafting work benches and followed the various journey steps to unlock different aspects of crafting and upgrading.  One of the neat items that can be built is a containment vessel for the deviations that are collected through your journeys.  Once contained they seem to do various things.  One deviation which was literally a balloon animal dog that once in the unit started generating balloons as a crafting material.  Another deviation was an electric eel (which I got from fishing) that can supplement my base's power supply (I don't have electricity generation yet).


A screenshot from Once Human showing crafting work stations
Crafting and refining work stations

 My upgrade spree brought to me the garage option which caught me by surprise as I did not realize the game has vehicles.  A little digging around  I found a quest I needed to complete to get my starting motorcycle and voila there was a motorcycle in my garage in my base!

 Riding around on the motorcycle I ended up at the game's first dungeon.  This was a single boss fight, but it featured some cool mechanics including at one point picking up the minigun that the boss was holding. There are other temporarily usable items that enemies drop in the rest of the game as well.

A screenshot showing a player using the minigun in Once Human on the first rift boss
A satisfying brrrrrt!  Giving back to the boss with it's own weapon!

 There are also some bosses scattered across the open world as well and right when I didn't think the game had any more surprises I ran into a mutant bus creature that you can jump inside and catch a ridge to it's next destination.  I have no idea the purpose of this thing but it was pretty cool to run into.

A screenshot from the game Once Human showing the motorcylce and mutant bus monster
Vrrrrrroooommmm! (and the mutant bus)

 And that is really what I liked most about Once Human.  It surprised me around every corner.  Whether it was the mutant bus, getting my motorcycle, finding out I could relocate my entire base in one step, or the time my base was invaded because I started up a stardust converter thingy the game just keeps dripping interesting things into the players path.

 Will that drip drip drip last across the entire game?  Based on the demo I can't answer that but so far several hours in the drips haven't stopped and have kept me going.  I honestly can't say how cool I found the mutant bus thing (it also had a chest to loot inside).  I've not had a new game hook me like this since New World's preview beta.


A screenshot of the map inside the game Once Human
Even the map is well done and thought out.

 There is still work needed to make the game better.  I found the PvE way too easy and from reading other testers comments the content was harder in past beta tests but then simplified. At no point in the demo, even fighting these towering bosses, did I feel at risk.  I also took on the "recommend bringing friends" dungeons with ease as a solo player.  Don't get me wrong, I like to play solo, but this is too easy.

 Weapon balance also needs a pass.  I was excited to get my first guns, a shotgun and an SMG, only to find out they were far less powerful than the crossbow I got in the tutorial.  Balance between weapons is a key progression for survival games so if unlocking and crafting new weapons just leaves me wanting to use my old weapon then the progression can fall flat.  With that said I barely scratched weapon crafting in the demo so this may not be an issue later on.

 Building your base also has some quirks.  I kept getting an error about being too close to a stronghold but only when trying to place a specific triangle wall piece.  Placing a square wall worked fine.  Also sometimes structures don't snap together and it's not clear why.   I had to give up building a fence around my base.  Also when placing your territory it does not indicate to you in anyway what part of that land is not buildable.  I only found out after placing my base down that I couldn't build on the nice flat road area.

A base in the game Once Human
My roadside base after a few hours of effort.

 Performance was good but could be better.  I did play on the highest settings (AMD 5800x3D CPU / Radeon 7900XT GPU) and average FPS was 233.  Boss fights though dipped to low FPS and from time to time I would get a freeze or stutter.

 Visually the game looks great and I really enjoy the apocalyptic world feel and exploring ruined buildings.  The game has a sixth sense ability where when you press Q it highlights objects in the world you can interact with.  This was a nice feature saving a lot of time going bucket to box to can to see what could be picked up.

 Over all I was really impressed with the game.  Everything I mentioned was all done in a shared game world inhabited by other players that were also building bases next to me and we passed each other going here and there.  The game launches in July and since New World's next update is not until October I can see myself giving this one a spin.

 Some more screenshots:

A screenshot from the game Once Human
The crafting survival game staple: your first camp

A screenshot from the game Once Human
Base #1 on a hill; it didn't work out

A screenshot from the game Once Human
Don't forget your gas to fuel up your motorcycle

A screenshot from the game Once Human
Oh crap!  My base is under attack!

A screenshot from the game Once Human
My stardust converter thingy on the roof is what is attracting the enemy!

A screenshot from the game Once Human
The Journey system not only teaches the game but also rewards the player.

A screenshot from the game Once Human
My balloon animal dog deviation.  It makes balloons (literally).

A screenshot from the game Once Human
The map is very useful and it will give you directions via the roads in game to reach marked destinations.

A screenshot from the game Once Human
The first rift (aka dungeon) entrance.

A screenshot from the game Once Human
Gotta catch em all!  A chance to catch a deviation at the end of the first dungeon.

A screenshot from the game Once Human
A peaceful evening at home.  I really need to get electricity going and some lights!



Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Sorry ESO, it's not you


 With some downtime from New World I've been out trying some other games.  Elder Scrolls Online (ESO) was one I dabbled with and I shared some thoughts here.  The game didn't hook me though and so here are some thoughts as I walk away from my fledgling Templar.

 The foremost driving factor was the combat.  It just isn't acceptable for my tastes when I've played games like New World where combat is far smoother.  It is annoying having to overthink your combat.  Canceling animations, weaving light attacks in, etc.  These are just not things I care to take on.  It doesn't help as well that the bulk of content doesn't require knowing how to do those things so the only way you learn about them is reading about them online and watching videos on how to do it.

 Second I just didn't like the disconnected world.  It felt like Starfield.  Run a little and load screen.  Run a little further; load the next room.  Sure there are bigger zones but I never got a sense of "world".

 Next I didn't dig the UI and as much as I love UI mods being supported I just didn't have the energy (or time) to dig into what was all available.  I've waffled on UI mods over the years.  Back after World of Warcraft I couldn't envision not having UI mods in an MMORPG but more recently playing New World where I spend very little time looking at the UI I enjoy how a minimal UI keeps me in the world.  Staying focused on the world, and not a UI, has become my new preference.

 Last of all I don't think ESO looks all that good.  I don't consider myself a graphics snob but ESO is dated compared to newer games.  I did not get to newer content in ESO so I am sure it gets better visually with the newer content.

 I do want to note that it was exciting to think about the large amount of content ESO offers; both PvP or PvE.  I really was hopeful it would hook me as it would have given me a good amount of stuff to chew on.  Alas it was not to be and I realize it's me, not ESO, that is really the cause of the mismatch.

Tuesday, June 11, 2024



Scot Lane game director of New World Aeternum saying sorry

 Here is where I think New World needs to start in order to #savenewworld after the disastrous fall out from their "big announcement".

  1. Release an honest apology to the community and admit it was wrong to hype the announcement up
  2. Provide a roadmap for 2025 as soon as possible
  3. Ensure all PC owners of either the base game or base game + expansion get upgraded.

 At no point can AGS say "can't talk about that right now" without causing more backlash.  It simply isn't acceptable that anything is being held back.

Monday, June 10, 2024

Dark Days for New World

Note: after the New World debacle with Summer Game Fest and IGN Live this past weekend I could muster no words to describe how disappointing the it all was.  It is now Monday and I've had time to dwell on the situation so here is an attempt at some words.

New World is DEAD

 If you tell your players to wait 8 months for a "big announcement" and after the wait the players walk away from your "big announcement" not understanding what genre your game is in or whether you are wiping their characters then you fucked up.  

 If your "big announcement" then says "wait four more months" after you had your players wait eight months then that is a year since your players got any meaningful update which is fucked up.  

 If all that the "big announcement" you hyped up for those eight months was just "the game is coming to consoles" with no other big updates then you lied to your players which is also fucked up.

 Amazon Game Studios... you fucked up.

 Let's take a step back to a post I made about the ill-timed community update for May 2024 in which the community lead and a developer were shown with a heavy dose of censored discussion. It was meant to poke fun at the "big announcement" they couldn't talk about yet.  It was a blatant tease and pissed off a lot of the community.  

 At the time of the video I commented:

 They better have a banger of an update for June otherwise this video will likely be forever held up as the moment "remember when New World died?"

 After that video however I still supported the team.  I even made a long post about how I had faith in New World and why I thought others should as well.  That was a mistake.  My trust in this development team is gone.  We can, and will, look back at that May video update and point at it as the moment New World died.

 It is so upsetting how they handled this announcement and there was no reason they had to handle it this way.  

 First and foremost; there was NO REASON for secrecy.  There was nothing of substance in this update to require it being hidden from players; especially after the minuscule number of changes were data mined months ago.  To prove the point further in the latest minor patch (which came BEFORE the "big announcement") they dropped a relatively major technology update by adding sharding to the game.

 Sharding is one of the biggest new technology things in the entire set of changes and just gets dumped in a minor patch.  How hard would it have been to record a video telling us "hey shards are coming!".  It didn't need to wait for the announcement and if one of the biggest tech changes didn't need to wait then why did the rest of it?

 I can't overstate how obvious it was what was coming.  We knew about the name change to New World Aeternum, the free for all PvP zone, the gear score increase to 725, and it was abundantly clear that the game was coming to consoles.

 I can understand having to keep the console news under wraps, but the rest of the stuff? What on earth were they thinking!?  All of these items would have made good fodder for video updates over the last several months.  Instead we got starved with a promise of "something big" in June.

 Was there no one at AGS that previewed this announcement and said "we have no new information; current players are going to be pissed"?  Was there no one that identified that maybe they shouldn't be hyping this up?  Did no one think maybe some better wording in the follow on videos and IGN Live interview were needed... just a simple "hey if you are a console gamer and wondering what New World is here is what the game is"... instead of leading everyone on like the follow on update was going to give us a bunch of juicy information?

 Let me predict something for you: they have a bunch of pre-canned dev updates that the video clips from the larger update came from and they are going to release them over the next few weeks.  They will put "note: recorded before announcement" subtext in the videos because none of the videos will address the community anger.  I will be SHOCKED if they address the monumental miss in any way.

 What is the end result of all of this?  AGS lost the trust of the current playerbase and has earned every aspect of backlash that will result.  Including when console release does not go as expected.  New World is approaching three years old before it lands on consoles.  What console gamer is going to want to pick up an old game, at a full game price tag, that has Overwhelmingly Negative reviews on Steam.  

 AGS could not have fucked up this situation any worse.  Dark days ahead for New World.

Friday, June 07, 2024

New World Aeternum

 Today is the BIG day for New World announcements.  We got a minor leak about the console release when New World Aeternum (note the name is not just New World) showed up on the Playstation store (it was then promptly removed).  We all assumed a console release was pending so nothing shocking here.  We will get the rest of the update at 5p EDT today!  Set your timers!

New World Aeternum showing up on the Playstation Store

Thursday, June 06, 2024

Bottom Fishing in The Angler

A bottom fished trout in the game call of the wild the angler
Bottom fished up a trout!

 My recent vacation got me jazzed about fishing (caught my personal best shark while surf fishing and my son caught his personal best largemouth bass) so I wanted to check back into Call of the Wild: The Angler.  What I found was a new fishing method, bottom fishing, and a much improved experience over all.

 Back when Angler launched it featured just basic fishing methods: float fishing or cast/retrieve.  At some point they added a new method for bottom fishing so I jumped in the tutorial and gave it a whirl.  Fortunately the game provides all the basics to get started.

a screenshot from the game call of the wild the angler
A big ole' pike!

 First I want to note that I found it a little odd that they added specific rods to the game for bottom fishing when in real life the average fisherman will use their current rod/reel for any method (bottom, casting, etc).  Ideally they'd of let us fish with any equipment for bottom fishing and just had bonuses for gear that was more tailored for bottom fishing.

 I set out and grabbed a spot to bottom fish and it worked exactly as I would have expected.  Cast, wait, and catch fish.  I did try some areas with moving water and the weight does move with the water which if you watched closely could fool you to think a fish was nibbling.  However, since I had sound on for nibbles/strikes I knew when I did or did not have a fish on.

 I finished the bottom fishing quests and moved on to fish some more areas of Golden Ridge Reserve (I don't have any of the other maps they've added).  Along the way I found some much improved aspects of the game from my last adventure.

 The biggest quality of life change was to make jigging or twitching baits into a "hold the button" instead of having to shake or repeatedly move your mouse to emulate the action.  This makes it 100% more reliable to perform the specific action without wearing out your wrist/mouse.  Ideally they'd change it to be button press on/off instead of holding the button the entire time.

a screenshot from the game call of the wild the angler

 The next noticeable change was to progression.  Leveling XP was much more smooth and gear in the tackle shop had a much more obvious path to take.  I still had top end gear from the last time I played from the old system but I can see how the new system will be more rewarding for players moving through it.

  The map also seems improved with better icons and the ability to set/record a ton of custom way points.  This was really nice to track the type and level of fish being caught in areas as I tried to fish up a diamond (which I did not).

 Lastly; multiplayer worked!  I joined and left online matches with ease.  It was cool to see a feed of other player catches scrolling past and to be able to jump in a boat and zip by to say hi.

Wednesday, June 05, 2024

Pax Dei Sets Early Access Date: June 18th

 Pax Dei is entering early access on June 18th.  This is not a good sign for the game.

 First, I want to be clear that I am NOT against early access.  I have and will continue to be a believer that games developed alongside players playing the game ultimately do better.  So I think the developer's intents are in the right place for Pax Dei.

 Why I don't think early access for Pax Dei is a good sign is because a major aspect of the game, combat, is in a state that is not enjoyable.  What is left behind is the same gather/craft/build any other number of games do better.  Pax Dei's promise was a persistent online world that offered the buildcraft alongside engaging MMO-style combat encounters.

 There is no doubt that that the developers know combat needs a ton of work so going into early access with a shell of a game has to be a known risk to them.  That spells financial problems pushing them to early access.  I hope I am wrong about that but reading between the lines that is what I see.

 Ultimate question: will I play early access? No.  The game just wasn't there yet to be worth playing based on the last alpha.  If the combat system was better then it'd be a much better game.  As it stands; a week after early access launch the hardcore players will have their mega castles built and then what? 

Tuesday, June 04, 2024

MEGA SERVERS coming to New World? PvP shards!?

 Are mega servers coming to New World?  Possibly!  In a surprise set of patch notes for 5.0.2 New World is introducing shards.

Also hiding in the update was the mention of a dedicated shard for PvP.  It sounds like you can flag for PvP in any of the shards, but there will be a shard marked for PvP so that ideally PvP players can find each other.

Player vs Player

    Dedicated PvP Shard: Each area has a single Shard for PvP to ensure fair play.
    PvP Flagging: Players flagged for PvP in non-PvP Shards can transfer to the PvP Shard.

 This is an exciting turn of events outside of whatever big announcement we are going to get this Friday.  This shard approach should lay the groundwork to get rid of the server concept and move the game towards a mega server model where we all just jump into the single server and get doled out to "shards".  This is the way to go these days with online games; the single server idea is dead!

 Excited to give the changes a try in the limited zones that will have sharding to start.

Monday, June 03, 2024

May 2024 In Review

May has come and gone.  Here is a look back (late delivery due to vacation).

The Blog

 I still owe a larger post about my findings with "spam" abuse of my GA4 (Google Analytics) tags that made me realize most of my traffic tracked to my blog was not real.  With that said let me present two numbers for blog traffic in May.

 First; the Blogger provided number (last 30 days graph / May count over the top)

 Second; my much filtered Google Analytics number.

 Those pictures tell two very different stories.  16k+ visits according to Blogger but only 875 per Google Analytics after I apply traffic source filters to get rid of spammers abusing GA4 tags.

 So May saw between 875 and 16,000+ visits to the blog. I'll pretend the latter is correct because... reasons.

 In other metrics:

  • Posts:
    • Target: 15 (at least one per week day; except vacation)
    • Posted:17
    • Difference: +2
      • Woohoo!  Back on track this Month
  •  Search Trends
    • "best battlefield game", "best battlefield", "best battlefield games" blew up this month directing folks to my post: Best Battlefield!?
    • New World dominates the rest of the search queries across Bing and Google.  This month the champ was "new world roadmap 2024" which makes sense as May was the original timeframe for the 2024 roadmap to be provided (that has now been pushed to June 7th for the big news)

What I Played

 New World continues as my main game.  I spent a lot of time in 3v3 arenas (100+ wins this season).  With vacation I won't be able to make top 10 though on the leaderboard but hoping my main playing partner makes it in (he has a shot at #1).

 I also spent some time in Jedi: Fallen Order.  I really like the visuals and Star Wars story of the game, but the "on rails" corridor levels totally ruin the feeling.  That is why I am looking forward to Star Wars: Outlaws to give me an open world experience.

 Fallout fever died off as I gave up Fallout 3 (the game is too dated at this point for my tastes) and I didn't bother to grab Fallout 4/76/NV/whatever.

 I was accepted to the Combat Champions playtest but didn't get a chance to play due to vacation.

Years Ago

1 Year Ago

 In May 2023 we got the first news of Amazon Game Studios (developers of my beloved New World) were starting working on a Lord of the Rings MMO.  In kind we began digging New World's grave.

5 Years Ago

 May 2019 I was looking at Magic the Gathering and reminiscing about the guild I helped run for a while: Casualties of War!

10 Years Ago

 In May of 2014 I was running around Guild Wars 2 and decided to document where traits could be obtained.  How much that game has changed!

15 Years Ago

  May of 2009 was a busy month on the blog and in retrospect some important things happened.

 20 19 Years Ago

 Technically I have 20 named years on my sidebar, but mathematically 2005 is only 19 years ago.

 In May of 2005 I started a blog so I had that going for me :)