Monday, May 16, 2016

Unpopular Opinion: Overwatch is Kinda Shit

Look at that fucking video.  Beautifully animated?  Yup.  Good voice-acting?  You betcha.  Exciting?  My dick is still hard.  But seriously ... can it have any more tropes in it?  Is there any space for anything more fucking obvious?  Green baby jesus, that's so cookie cutter that it hurts.

That video is a microcosm of the Overwatch experience; flashy, well-made, and ultimately devoid of any substance.  The epitome of how Blizzard develop titles these days.  I was recently involved in the Overwatch beta and played for a bit.  I tried out more than a few characters, with Bastion and Genji being my favorites.  I found the maps to be well-done, the character movement and responsiveness was excellent.  Actually, saying that they were excellent is doing it a disservice.  The controls were flawless.  It was a joy to play.  Well, up until it wasn't.

And that's the real problem here, isn't it?  This is a multiplayer shooter.  It will never be anything more than that.  It will never have a story mode (well, if they do roll one out this is an instant buy).  They have "plot" in the game, but only insomuch as character interactions before battle (and sometimes during battle) and some clues in the environment.  There is no story other than "shoot that guy in the face and listen to some witty comments."  

That's a real shame, too.  Since the game was born from the aborted fetus of Titan, Blizzard's next MMO, I think there was a real chance at one point for this to be an engrossing game.  It definitely feels like it should be bigger than the arena shooter that it is.  But it's not.  And it won't be.  It's a lobby game to play when you're bored.

Too bad.  Feels like Blizzard could have really made something here, maybe a game that could have taken the reins from Star Wars Battlefront 2; complete with an engrossing campaign, full bot modes, conquest-style gameplay ... oh well.

But you know what?  For $40 on PC, this may be a pretty good buy if you're into shooters.  For all its story faults and flashiness, the core mechanics of this game are un-fucking-believable.  It's on such a different level that I'm tempted to buy it my damn self, even after I just shit all over it.

EDIT: I fuckin' bought it.  Of course I did.  I'm such a sack of crap.  Also, my opinion is not wildly changed.  Playing with my old guildmates makes it more fun, but it's still fairly hollow.  But, $40 is pretty cheap and I know they'll add all sorts of stuff to it.  I'm thinking of it as more of an investment.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

So This is on Youtube ...

Good lord, give this a watch.  I don't usually give fan-made creations the time of day, but this one grabbed me by the ghoulies.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Don't Miss Your Emailed CC Code!


Guys, don't delete the latest SWTOR newsletter they sent out!  If you're a subscriber and you fulfilled certain conditions (I'd have to go do research and it's early), then you're entitled to a 1,050 CC grant!  It's located on the newsletter about Firebrand:

I'm gonna guess that 'Yes' Ka- er, I mean Firebrand is gonna join us.  I wish she wouldn't.

You'll see it below the main headers, toward the bottom of the newsletter:

I've already used my CC code, villains!  But my friend code is up for grabs.
FYI, anyone can use my Friend code for the first chapter for free: FPK4-EHNS-ZX79-CNF8.  I really just recommend plunking down the $15 US to get the whole shebang.  Well worth the investment, even if you don't want to carry on with subscribing.

Quick note!  SWTOR launched a new gameplay trailer a couple of months ago to show off the KotFE expansion!  I'm obviously super excited about it.  FYI!  Here's a GAMESCOM 2015 CANTINA CODE!  Usable up to 50 times, so feel free to snag it while you can.  And if you'd like to get back into SWTOR, use my referral link!

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Rebel Galaxy: It's Been So Long ... Long Hard Days

I got a shipment of tachyon salt that I'm aimin' to unload and some Korian hardasses that's been tryin' my patience.  A hold full of goods and bad attitudes.  Life in the 'Verse just ain't as easy as it used to be ...

I downloaded Rebel Galaxy a couple of weeks back on my ol' Xbone and boy howdy ... lemme tell ya'll somethin' real quick-like: this game's funner than shootin' a barrel full of Red Devils.

Rebel Galaxy is a space shooter/trade simulation/RPG-lite ship upgrade game.  It currently costs around $20 on the various platforms (Xbox One, PS4, Steam, GOG) and I have to just get this out of the way ... this game is worth every damn red cent of that $20.  Every penny.

Made by the mad geniuses that gave us Torchlight and Torchlight II (Travis Baldree and Erich Schaefer), Rebel Galaxy captures that infectious playability of their previous games.  Except this time, instead of brightly colored-riffs on the very grimdark world of Diablo characters, you're a hard-boiled spaceship captain with a grimy, well-worn man'o'war.  Well, we may be stretching the 'captain' part.  Realistically, you play *as* the ship.  As far as I can tell, you never see your captain's face nor hear his/her voice.  Strangely enough, that doesn't bother me too much considering this is a budget title.

The game is held together by its extremely simple yet surprisingly engaging combat on a modified 2.5D plane.  Your ship basically stays on the same horizontal line (you do weave up and down a tiny bit); enemy fighters buzz around you in all directions, though.  Thankfully, enemy ships also travel on the same plane, so fights are very rarely unfair.  Well, unfair in the sense that you're at least on the same plane.

Ship combat can get extremely hairy though for the unprepared.  Mission difficulty ratings range from Very Low all the way to Very High with varying degrees in the middle.  Most missions will be Average or High difficulty, but these ratings can sometimes be misleading.  If your mission is a dead drop, you can either count on a fairly simple pickup or a firefight so intense that your ass will leave a pool of sweat on the couch (or piss).  Some missions will have you surrounded by a swarm of gunships, torpedo boats, and fighters (the nightmare scenario) or will have you ambushed by corvettes and frigates that are relatively easier to take down.  It all depends on the types of missions you accept; I usually shy away from dead drops now and only concentrate on straight deliveries or hunting missions.

The amount of ships in the game is impressive; each ship has a manufacturer, and each manufacturer has a set style they design by.  Consequently, upgrading from ship to ship in a single manufacturer's line means you'll have a similar, and progressively beefier, ship to fly with.  The visual reward of upgrading from one ship to another is fun; switching manufacturers means not only dumping your aesthetic but also maybe changing philosophies.  Some ships are turret heavy (AI controlled turrets that auto-fire on enemies in range, though you can manually control them), while others have withering broadsides.  And oh, the broadsides.  The simple appeal of this game can honestly be whittled down to the innate, animal joy it brings players to line up cannons on one side of a ship and absolutely devastate another ship through concentrated carnage.  It's like Sid Meier's Pirates in space, with cursing.  And aliens.

And speaking of upgrading ships, let's comment on one of the finest portions of Rebel Galaxy: upgrading your ship.  The game doesn't penalize you for moving from ship to ship.  All upgrades and weapons carry forward to your new ship, the old ship's price is deducted from the new ship's price, and all upgrades can be traded in for full cost.  This allows you to experiment with new ship combos and layouts; it encourages you to be inventive but doesn't penalize you for taking risks.  It's wonderful!

Trading can be a lucrative career in Rebel Galaxy.  Keep an eye on the map for events happening in local space stations like Tech Boom, Mining Rush, War, Famine, or Korian Invasion.  These events modify the prices of goods and can lead to immense profits.  Keeping track of the buy/sell prices is important to maximizing profits.  So is upgrading your hold space.

Combat feels good and simple, much like Sid Meier's Pirates did back in the 90s.  There are secondary weapons systems, triggered shields that you can actually ram other ships with, missiles, torpedoes, mercenary gunships you can hire to protect yourself ... there's plenty of variation.

Where this variation falls short is in mission selection.  There are really only a few types of missions available: hunt down pirates, pick stuff up, deliver stuff, go help a border war, take out a specific pirate.  That's about it.  There's a main campaign mission, but it's mainly just a vehicle to get you from system to system via jump gates.

Rebel Galaxy really shines with the breadth of content it gives for $20.  Will this game keep you as invested as Skyrim did?  Nah, probably not.  But I'm 25 hours in and have only left the first system once.  I'm currently rocking the HammerJammer, a Tennhausen frigate with a hold full of badassery and no patience for scum.  I can imagine that this game will occupy my hard drive for many, many moons to come ...

Monday, February 15, 2016

World of GTN-Craft: The GTN-ening

Hello fellow Targeters!

Sorry I've been so radio silent recently.  I've gotten a new promotion (yay!) and had a new baby (yay!) but this means my time has been zero (boo!).

I've also been playing a bit of WoW in my limited free time.  Now before you start throwing things at your screen, understand that it was my first real MMO (sorry, Puzzle Pirates you don't count).  Every now and then, I like to go back to it ... it always scratches that nostalgia factor.  I went ahead and pre-ordered Legion; I've seen enough new stuff that I'll give it a shot.

I can firmly say, though, that my raiding days are pretty much over.  Oh, I'll help out here and there if I can.  I'll soak up some gear that would have been disenchanted anyways.  But my time as a devoted raider has come to a stop.  I don't even show up for voluntary fun runs anymore.

It's more of a deal with me than the content.  Granted, Hellfire Citadel may be one of the most intensely boring raids I've ever done (on par with Dragon Soul) so that doesn't help, but I think the whole gear treadmill is really just a major annoyance for me now.  I understand the gear lifecycle in MMOs.  SWTOR's got one too!  But in WoW, all you HAVE is the gear lifecycle.  It's all raids, all the time.  There's nothing else to really fill that hole unless you pet battle (and if you do HOLY HELL BWHAHAHAHAHA OK).  PVP is the same as it ever was; Ashran isn't a total disaster (and with a good group can be really, really fun!) but that's about it.  Battlegrounds are battlegrounds.  One side is getting stomped all the time.  Dungeons haven't been relevant since launch.  What else is there to do but raid?

Couple that with the arms race for raid mechanics (they get more and more complex as Blizzard pumps out the raids), and you have a very unfulfilling play cycle.  Get ready to raid.  Raid.  Master mechanics.  Get more gear.  Raid.  Master harder mechanics on the same bosses.  Get even more gear.  Raid some more on the same bosses again.  See a pattern?

It's a known quantity though, which is why I felt comfortable pre-ordering and playing WoW.  I've successfully scratched that itch though, and I've felt the seductive pull of SWTOR again.  Oh, and how tempting a mistress she is ...

I deleted a lowbie Juggernaut last night to reroll as a Sentinel.  I've never really done the whole two-saber thingy as a Force-user; all of my Knights and Warriors have been the tanky kinds.  I like the durability, plus apparently the damage on Juggs right now is pretty insane!  I was inspired by this post on Reddit; the new 'Classic Vibroswords' have an incredible look; they sheathe on the back!  So, Chiss Sentinel Vanquix, Shadow's Master here I come!  Combined with the Dramatic Extrovert armor (for maximum underboob action) and two vibroswords strapped to the back, and you've got yourself one badass little Sentinel.  Or a candidate for Njessi's HALL OF SHAAAAAAME.

After rerolling a new Sentinel (who's totes gonna go darkside, DUH), I went to clear out Targeter's vault.  As you may or may not know, I like to buy hypercrates when my CC stash gets high enough.  Combined with a very disciplined approach to buying CCs and buying hypercrates on the GTN when they are very low, I've been incredibly lucky to be sitting on stockpiles of goods that sell for boatloads.  This time around is no different.  I always hang on to decorations; if you keep them in storage for 6-9 months, you can basically guarantee that the supply of those decos is gone by the time yours hits the market.  And Ebon Hawk is a particularly lucrative market!  I was able to offload some armory cabinets, some tables, even a Selkath couch!  Those, plus some various armor sets I had laying around netted me around 5 million this morning.

Best part is that I've got an entire Reaver's set ready to hit market.  I'm torn though; I'm sitting on about a combined 15-20 million creds.  The Reaver's set will probably fetch me another 5-6 total.  Do I really need to have that much?  I know, I know, there's a LOT of folks out there who have hundreds of millions of credits.  I don't play that much, so my little stash is a lot to me, dammit!  But do I really need all that cash?  I've got enough to buy whatever I need (I don't endgame craft or raid, so no cred sink there) and a lot of the higher end mounts ... well, I sell those, I don't care about keeping them.  I usually target a couple of mounts every now and then, but I usually envision a specific selection of mounts for each character.  Targeter gets the sleek Monocycle or the Korrealis Commander, Droideka (my droid-looking Bounty Hunter) gets the Orlean Fortune Hunter, my Sith Warrior Zakuulian gets the bulky Dasta Titan or the incredible Minas Wasp.

I dunno.  #FirstWorldAgentProblems I guess.  #MOMONEYMOPROBLEMZ

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

For Shintar: What is the deaaaal with Valkorion?

Valkorion isn't sponge-worthy.

Seriously though, what *is* the deal with Valkorion.  That homeslice ain't no Vitiate, ya dig?

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

My Own Hyper-Personal View on Companion Nerfs/Buffs

Recently, Bioware made some changes to the overpowered companions that launched with 4.0.  I believe the actual technical term for the companions' power level was "WTFBBQSAWSE."  Let's all face it ... when your companions are outperforming some players (per reports, I never personally experienced it), there may be a very slight problem.

And I do mean slight.  Honestly.

I was not one of the doomsayers, naysayers, or any other type of -sayer (save for soothe) that lobbied hard for companions to be nerfed.  Frankly, I couldn't care less if my companion was nigh-unkillable (they weren't) or they made me basically indestructable (I wasn't).  I got close in a few fights, notably the showdown near the Gravestone ... and well, that was it really.  Everything else was roflstomp.

I'm ok with that.

In fact, I'm more than ok with that.  Look, I'm of the opinion that sometimes in MMOs we become so enamored with the illusion of difficulty that it blinds us to fun.  When people say that MMOs were 'harder back in my day,' what they're really saying is that the MMOs they used to play had an extremely long, punishing grind.  The rose-colored glasses are strong in the MMO genre; they make people believe that back in days of yore, everything was harder, better, and funner.  Funnier.  MORE FUN, OK.

But were they?  I guess only you can answer that, really.  For me personally, they were hit and miss.

My main MMO for almost a decade now has been WoW.  Back in TBC, which everyone seems to remember as awesome, things sorta sucked for me.  Some specs simply weren't viable as end-game raiders.  Hell, most *players* weren't viable as end-game raiders.  It was normal for a raid team to be doing content that was 2-3 tiers old.  In fact, you sort of had to just to get attuned.  Most folks remember this expansion fondly ... I don't.  I remember long attunement grinds, whole tiers of content I'd never, ever see, a leveling curve that at the time was borderline sadistic.  There were puddles of water that dismounted you, the hellaciously long Hellfire Peninsula zone, the utterly forgettable Bore's Spire, I mean Bladespire ... shadow DISC priests were a joke (thanks, Shintar!), enhancement shaman were nonviable due to their effective health.  It was a personal nightmare.

The one expansion I remember more fondly than any other is Wrath of the Lich King.  My shorts get tighter when I talk about this expansion.  I loved the raiding.  The world.  The stories.  The classes.  You know what else I loved?  Quitting WoW.  I quit WoW a remarkable 4 times in WotLK.  So, what was there that made me constantly walk away?  Was it the expansion length?  The lack of things to do (lol no really) at max level?  The difficulty (well, at the difficult) of the raiding?  The people I was playing with?  Maybe a mix of all those and more.  For an expansion that I get such a raging nerd-boner off of, I sure didn't mind walking away from it.

But it never fails to bring a smile to me.  Grinding weapon skills.  That damn jousting.  Ulduar.  The feeling of flying over Icecrown Citadel.  Wintergrasp.  The dailies.  Reputations.  Such a glut of stuff to do!  I do conveniently forget all the reputation grinding.  The times Wintergrasp crashed whole servers.  The faction imbalance that basically meant me and my fellow Horde owned Wintergrasp for more than a year on Blackwater Raiders.  The pretty long grind to 80.  The raids that had uninspired, re-used mechanics (hello Naxx) or were just fights in one room (hello Trials) or the places we spent over a year in (hello ICC).  I don't remember the badge grinds for last tier's gear (OK, that was actually pretty effin' amazing).

I don't remember any of that stuff.  I just remember the good.  And that's why when folks say they like their MMOs harder and they like companion nerfs, I understand.  I really do.  I may not agree, because at the end of the day, I'd rather have fun then grind, but I understand.

So when folks asked for nerfs to companions, I didn't care one way or another.  Were companions OP?  If we're honest with ourselves, we'd have to say "hell yes."  Was it fun when the companions were OP?  Well, I certainly like to think so.  It just made things easier (oh no, filthy casual alert!) and for me, who has limited time, that was attractive as hell.  I could blow through the story and not worry too much about it.  That's probably not a good thing if I'm honest about it, but it is what it is.

Fast forward to yesterday and apparently they're coming out with new companion buffs.  They took a scalpel too deep to the companion abilities, it would seem.  Now they are reversing course, mainly with the healing.  I think a lot of players voiced concern that the Heroic 2+ missions would no longer be available to most players; I tend to agree.  I know I'll out myself as a filthy casual, but I actually had a few problems on Belsavis Heroic 2+s.  Died a couple of times.  Had to use Heroic Moment.  And that was *before* the changes.  Now with the nerf/buff they've received, I don't know how it'll play.  I should probably check it out.  Either way, I'll be playing SWTOR and is that really a bad way to spend the night?  Nah.

I guess this long-ass, rambling post could really be boiled down to this: watch the rose-colored glasses about difficulty and have fun.  I coulda probably said that at the top.  Oh well.