9/2/17

I suppose the best thing to do here is just jump into what I have been up to recently.

Dark Souls 3

Dark Souls 3 is cool. I’m not sure exactly how far the game I am, but I have killed a fair few bosses now and traversed some pretty cool environments. I love that you can look up at the backgrounds in whatever area you are in and see the places you’ve been to, or are going. It really brings the world together. Some of the bosses have been rough on me. I am currently bashing my head against one and getting some small, slow progress. I could explore another area to give myself a break from the boss, but I am reluctant to give up the souls I have left on the floor of his room.

I’ll get back into this at the weekend, when I can really put some hours into it.

Nioh

I wasn’t very excited about Nioh when the first trailers showed up. It looked a little goofy. I got hit by the hype though and bought it on release. I played the opening mission and tutorial and I think it seems cool. This will be my go to game for the next few days at least until I get to grips with it.

Pokemon Duel

I gotta catch ’em. I can’t help myself. This is a mobile, turn-based, strategy thing with pokemon figures and my collection disease wants to play it despite my brain thinking that it might actually suck. It has the always fun mobile pay to win problem where my free to play team of small pokemon does not stand a chance against the big spender squad that I am matched with, full of legendary pokemon.

Tales of Berseria

This is my first Tales game and it is fun. It scratches the JRPG itch that I have. I like what I have seen so far, but the environments seem lazily done. They’re very basic in both looks and function. The movement around the overworld is the same and it gives the game the feel of a previous generation game. The combat seems to be quite deep and there are a lot of tool-tips popping up in the first few hours of the game, but so far I have gotten by just mashing out attacks in almost every fight, so hopefully that is not the case later on in the game.I still have a long way to go, but it’s a nice one to chill out to after picking the controller out of the wall following an hour on Dark Souls.

That’s what I’ve been up to this week. I’ll drop back in presently to catch up on stuff that happened since the last real update in August (it’s quite a bit!)

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2017!

I have been neglectful. I am guilty of neglect. It’s been several months since I last updated this blog and I have no real excuse. I’ve been doing some real life stuff, playing some games, binging on tv series and all sorts of things, but it’s not as though I haven’t had the time to keep doing this.

So a resolution! This year I am trying to be better at committing to things. Once I start doing something, I want to keep doing it.

I don’t like being one of those people who says they’ll do something and then gives up after a couple of weeks, or in my worst cases, doesn’t bother at all. It’s a flaw that I am not happy with and can actively change.

This blog can be a platform for that change. There’s nothing to stop me updating this frequently except myself.

This weekend I will post a catch up for the games I’ve been playing or have played since the last update and we’ll see about some real life updates, too. From there, I will try to keep a weekly thing going about the games I am playing and I want to (like everyone else) start clearing out the backlog of games I have. With so many exciting releases around the corner, I’m not sure that’s going to be very viable at the moment, but it’s something to think about.

Overwatch Summer Games!

Overwatch Summer Games!

I am still playing Overwatch. Neverwinter has eaten up a lot of my time and I tend to burn myself out on online, multiplayer games which has happened with Overwatch to an extent. I get frustrated by little niggles or doing poorly and give up and go back to nice peaceful questing.

The developers have been surprisingly active and open, though.

-Balance changes are happening all the time, along with quality of life changes.

-Competitive mode! Gimme rank points.

-A new character was released – Ana, a new support sniper character that I desperately want to be good with.

-A summer games update was released on the sly (sadly it was leaked a few hours before they planned to sneak it out), including new skins, sprays, poses based around an olympic type event and a new Rocket League like mode called Lucioball.

-Another new character, Sombra, has been teased and they have been hiding all sorts of silly messages within videos and other messages for some very dedicated people to decrpyt. These are getting silly, converting this into that to see this to convert it…It’s way over my head, but it’s a neat little game outside the game for those that can do it.

-They have an active forum presence and are putting out streams and videos talking weekly.

I don’t agree with some of the balance changes. D.Va is way too strong now and even though I love him and want him to be the best, so is Zenyatta, but it’s not something I’m worried about because they’ve been so good about watching what people are saying about the changes. It’s refreshing to see a games company trying to keep people happy and make a game that people enjoy. I hope they keep it up!

Pokemon Sun and Moon!

Pokemon Sun and Moon!

This is the most excited I have been in a long time. Seeing ice Sandshrew was the highlight of my week/month/year!

I’m a big fan of the Pokemon games still anyway, but they have really nailed the trailers for this one and this trailer is huge. There’s so much going on and it all looks brilliant. Z-Moves are not really my thing, but then I wasn’t big on mega-evolutions at first. The new Pokemon all look great, the regional variations of old Pokemon all look GREAT, the new trial challenge thing looks cool, although I do hope that gyms are still in the games and not being replaced by the challenges.

 

I honestly can’t wait for the release of these games. November is so far away.

Neverwinter

Neverwinter

This is a long one.

I’ve spent most of my game time of the past few weeks playing Neverwinter, which was recently released on PS4. The game is free to play and available now, but my Dad bought me early access so he had someone to play with and we got in a week early, along with a few minor bonuses. We both played it a lot. We hit the soft cap of 60 in the past couple of days and I don’t think it’ll be too long before we reach the hard cap of level 70. It’s cool.

I haven’t played too many MMOs, but this one seems a bit more complicated than World of Warcraft (the one I’ve spent a lot of time with). Firstly, there’s just a lot going on. There are icons and tools all over the screen, there’s a huge amount of lore which is probably made a little easier if you’re familiar with Dungeons and Dragons, there’s so many different tabs and information everywhere. Just on the pause menu, there are 6 or 7 tabs with at least 3 options each. There are multiple different currencies, a profession system, collections of companions, mounts and gear, 5(?) different shops/auction houses and loot everywhere. It was a little overwhelming for the first few days. Once you take the time to investigate and look up what everything is, it becomes a little easier to manage, but it can still be a little much and it’s not helped by the control scheme, which, in all honesty, they’ve done well to push onto a controller.

The game suffers from a few issues.

It is free to play, but there are some huge advantages to putting money into it. Most of the mounts and companions are on the real money store and those that aren’t are hidden in containers that need a key, only purchasable with the real money currency Zen, to unlock. You can get XP boosts, teleportation to the hub, invulnerability to traps and all sorts of other things if you put enough money into it. That being said, it is completely possible to play without investing anything but your time. While playing you collect a currency called Astral Diamonds, this can be converted into Zen at any time for access to the items on the real money shop. It’ll take quite a bit longer, but it’s an option and it’s doable.

The gold sellers have essentially ruined the chat. In the hub zone, you just can’t see anything because it is full of people trying to sell Astral Diamonds on their third party websites. This is pretty standard for MMOs, but it doesn’t make it any less annoying.

There’s a lack of polish that impacts the game from time to time. Connectivity issues pop-up and occasionally you don’t know how you died, because the game hasn’t kept up with you. In a group you can’t see the tooltips or comparisons for the items in your inventory. Logging out in certain zones will result in the game refusing to load when you try to log back in. There are DIY fixes, but nothing official.¬†Perhaps lack of polish isn’t fair. Bugs and issues are to be expected and it seems like they are aware and working on the problems. My biggest gripe? No colourblind setting!

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You can splash as much red as you like on this picture, I won’t be able to see it.

With that all out of the way though, I really like it.¬†It’s fun, it looks nice, the zones and enemies are cool. The gameplay feels, to me at least, pretty challenging and while I am aware that it’s a grind, it’s a grind I want to do. There are dailies, weeklies, gold grinding, token collecting, but it’s somewhat enjoyable and I want to see what it leads to. The campaigns offer rewards for your grinding and there are mounts and companions that I want to collect, even if it takes me a month of dungeons to gain enough astral diamonds.

It also feels like an mmo should. There are people in the zones. The only time you’ll ever be alone is when you enter a mission instance (a cave, or house) by yourself. The rest of the time you’ll be passing people and, if you’re nice, helping them out. Even if they are just being idiots in the chat, they’re there and (regardless of what my Dad says) enhancing the game.

Lastly and most importantly, the game gives you moments where you walk around a corner and something like this happens:

It might get old eventually and there are dragons every couple of zones, but that is still pretty spectacular.

You might be one of the people who are fed up with grinding for dragons after burning yourself out in the first couple of weeks farming Chathraxis. Yes, they are quite common, but the first 3 are kittens compared to this guy. Try fighting him with a dodgy connection and eyes that can’t see red!

 

tl;dr – Neverwinter is a great, free MMO that manages to outshine its issues.

 

Now I’m off to grind AD so I can buy a Quasit.

Dirty DiRT

Dirt Rally is a great game. It’s one of the best rallying games I have ever played. But oh my goodness does it wind me up.

I am not good at the game. I can accept that. I’m not winning every competition, I enter and when I play the online challenges, I am lucky to place in the top 100. Luckily for the offline tournaments, I only need to be top 3 to progress to the next level. Which I can do. Or at least, I could up until the point I am at now.

I’m on the Professional Championship, which is the 3rd or 4th one in. I tried it twice before and failed completely. On the second attempt I caught up quite a bit to end up 4th after the AI had some bad runs (one of them lost 19 minutes on the final course).

So when I was in first place with 2 courses left, I was ecstatic. Then this happened:

Yes, my car had taken a few bumps. But I was driving as carefully as I could, specifically to avoid wrecking, and my car was disqualified anyway, for something I had no control over?!

Of course this meant I finished this course in 16th, which pushed me down to 4th. And then the AI just pushed me out, staying within a couple of seconds of one another on every stage just to screw me over.

I finished 4th overall and it honestly feels like this was done just to screw me over. I was really, really upset. I don’t have a huge amount of desire to play it now, because I feel like it’s a waste of time to put several hours into this championship and have the game conspire against me just to prolong my progress.

WoW

I made the mistake of re-subscribing to World of Warcraft. I say mistake because I know that I am going to lose hours and days of my life to this monster. In fact, in the week since I did it, I have spent around a day on there already.

I stopped my subscription back at the start of the year. I wasn’t playing and, like many people, had burned myself out on the current content. Logging in to do Garrison daily missions and fly around each of the zones looking for the Voidtalon of the Dark Star.

At the end of August Legion (the newest expansion) will be launching, so I wanted to catch up with the game and see if there was anything for me to do. It turns out that there are some things that will no longer be available come the launch of Legion. The Legendary ring questline will no longer be able to be started and the quest will be removed from your log. I never bothered with it at the time, so I have been pushing that along as much as I can, thanks to some helpful catch up mechanics. There is also a mount that drops from the final boss of the current expansion on heroic difficulty that won’t drop once the new content is released. The Grove Warden is obtained by looting an item from the boss and taking it to a different zone for some lore/exposition. It’s not a difficult quest, but there’s no way I am good enough or geared enough to get it. Luckily, my brother is in a raiding guild and hooked me up with a carry!

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My sweet Grove Warden and I
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You also get a cool little monument for your garrison

I think that there are a lot of people currently trying to get this mount and groups and communities set up to help others get it. It’s cool to see people doing this and it’s always nice to hear about people actually playing together as a community. It’s extra nice for me, because the only time I have ever completed a current piece of content for the game was the Firelands event for the 10th birthday which gave you a Core Hound mount. I was also lucky enough to pick up a Hatespark the Tiny battle pet, which was a pretty rare drop in that event! Now I have the Grove Warden, too, I am almost a real person in World of Warcraft terms.

 

The real reason I subscribed back up is that when you buy the Origins edition of Overwatch (which you have to buy on console, anyway) you get a Baby Winston pet in World of Warcraft when you link your accounts. As an avid pet battler, I wanted to see him for myself.

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He is beautiful! He’s even got a little baby Tesla cannon! I raised him up to level 25 and he’s really strong, too. He’s a “humanoid” type pet, so his passive ability is that he regains health whenever he attacks which fits him as a tank character! He has abilities that are recognisable from Overwatch. His tesla cannon is his main attack, he can also use a leap, similar to his rocket pack jump and put down a shield. He is wonderful.

I’ve been enjoying it a lot and between staring at Baby Winston and trying to finish up the quests that I can before the new expansion, I am finding a lot of my time being spent having fun with World of Warcraft again!