17 December 2014

Borderlands Online

Familiar.  Even in Mandarin.
This little bombshell just dropped and I'm wondering where the hell that came from.  And why from China?  No offence to China 2k, but isn't this is a rather... western game?

My apparent confusion in culture aside, I'm very curious about what this game will be like and how different it would be, so I'm going to run off some questions I would like answered.

How big will the world be?
That's my first big question because this is a step up from the typical Borderlands game.  I considered Borderlands the poor man's MMO, because you didn't have to pay a subscription to play it over the years, and the world was rather large and expansive.  It felt like an MMO, gathering missions and completing them in your own time, and occasionally you would be shooting your way through a series of corridors, and they would always end in a big boss.  So with it being an MMO how big an area would the Borderlands world be expanded out to?

Destiny comes to mind.  What makes it unique is that it's regions are very intertwined.  You can literally drive a circle around the Cosmodrome, though a little squiggly.  I think the only dead end is where that Devil Walker sits, and there's a chance that will expand out into a another region someday.  Will maps be designed similarly?  That a player can explore and end up back where he started?

Will there be a crossover to old locations and characters, or will it be an entirely new environment?
While I can appreciate a tip of the hat to history, and maybe even a cameo appearance from someone like Lilith or Zero, I wouldn't expect them to be available for the player to approach at will.  Especially in the environment of an MMO where there could be dozens of players crowded around her at one time in the Crimson Raiders Headquarters, trying to get a quest from her, or trying to dance with her.

In saying that though, I can appreciate if they decided to move the central focus to a completely different region of Pandora, where a new revolution was starting, or the Crimson Raiders have begun recruiting new Soldiers/Vault Hunters for the field of battle.

Will the players be able to side with a faction?
This is an interesting one.  There has always been a Manufacturer that the player has been fighting against.  Whether it's Bandits, Atlas, Hyperion or Dahl, they are all a faction the player has been shooting at.  So why can't there be the option for players to unite under the same flag of a weapons Manufacturer?  I'm sure a group of Torgue players would look outrageous.

What is this Mobile game thing?
Is it the same shooter on your iPad?  Or is there a minigame you can play using alts to send on secret missions; or a home base you can build up and expand, which you can eventually visit and benefit from?  There's gotta be a purpose to all the money you gain selling all the guns you retrieve, after all.

That's an issue of Borderlands: There's almost no point to money.  You lose some each time you die, but you regain that in the guns you pickup.  And it scales down based on how much money you actually have.  Otherwise, you don't have any incentive to spend it at the vendors.  You don't even need it for special events since there's the rare currency for that.  So why not put it to actual use?  Get some money in the shooter, then go on your Tablet and level up a base of some sort?

What comparisons will you have to other MMO games?
This is what I mean about building up a base.  World of Warcraft just implemented "Garrisons" into their game, where a player has his own customisable base of operations to fight off the Iron Horde, a new enemy faction in the expansion.  While this is only within World of Warcraft itself, why can't there be a Mobile Counterpart?  Have your own Gunshop, where you can after market your rifle parts; get a barracks or something, where you can get other vault hunters to do your bidding; etc etc etc.

Then there's the superfluous skills.  WoW has things like Cooking and Fishing, things like that which can be cool when leveled up and focused on, but ultimately aren't necessary.  Will there be anything like that, where you can make your own guns, conveniently in your Gunshop you made in your base?

Will there be further characters?
This is an Obvious Question.  Four different classes does not a long life make.  Some people like a bit more variety to their game, changing up what toon they want to play as today to refresh their experience; or testing out new skills and abilities to learn their role in a fight; or finding an entirely different story in the game they could travel through.  All very different reasons, and all give enough reason to add more characters.

How deeply will you be able to customise characters, on an RPG level and a on a visual level?
Borderlands visual customisations have always been pretty simple.  First it was just three colours changing details on your character to make them a little more spiffy.  Then they went to extremes and made Character Customisation a collectable thing, picking up patterns and headgear at random and making yourself look awesome or outrageous.  Will BLO continue the tradition of Skins and Heads changing the look of your premade Character, or will you be able to have a uniqueness all of your own?

Then there's the RPG side.  When it came to stats, the game was pretty straight forward.  You didn't have Scores that affected your capabilities, you had Badass Points that gave you percentage bonuses, you had whatever your equipment gave you, and whatever effects your Skill Tree provided.  So will it roll over just the same?  Or will there be a new system in place?  Will we still have Skill Trees?  Will we even have stats on our guns?  And even action skills, will they still remain a thing?

What differences will there be in Equipment and Weapons?
Borderlands has a tradition of having 8 pieces of equipment.  Four Gun Slots, a Class Mod, a Grenade Mod, a Shield, and a Special.  So what changes could be made?  The Special is a miscellaneous item, so it can be whatever is appropriate to the story or region.  But will shields remain as kinetic pushing bubbles?  Will Class Mods and Grenade Mods be the same?  What about weapons?  Will it always be guns, or will Swords and Shields be brought into the mix?

Will there be more Manufacturers in the MMO release, or planned in the future?
This is a big one.  With a new Manufacturer, you get a new style of weapon.  If the series keeps with the Manufacturer distinctions, then they'll have to make a new consistency between the guns and stuff...  It sounds like a hassle, and it very certainly is, but it would be worth it to start playing a little differently with new guns.

14 December 2014

I married a Gal from Kalamazoo

Having an accent throws people, leaving them gawk at me as they ascertain my speech.

"What are you doing in Kalamazoo?" they say, the taste of a confusion cocktail with a splash of bile.

That drink suddenly rots teeth when they hear the sweet response of "I met a gal from Kalamazoo" and flash the golden band around my finger.

I like it here.  The people are nice and homely, keeping everyone as comfortable as they keep themselves, almost to extremes.

They are curious, making jokes about themselves and quoting films as old as time itself, while enamoured with stories about my home, of wildlife and of culture.

But every morning, I wake up and find my gorgeous wife, sleeping like an angel.

And I always breathe a sigh of relief.  That after four years, I am finally with her.  No more waiting to text her at 8pm.  No more digital kisses.  No more stressing out when I haven't gotten a message from her.

I can finally talk to her. I can touch her. I can kiss her. I can hold her.

I can love her.

For four years, we were apart.  All we wanted was to be together.  And we did it.  Thousands of dollars and close to twelve months, we did the process.  We filed the paperwork. I went through the exams.  I answered the questions.  We both stretched our patience to the very limit.

But I got here.

It was March, and Michigan was still colder than a witches teat.  The plane flew over Chicago in the middle of the day and I just saw homes covered in thin blankets of white snow, streets glistening in the light as the ice froze over and the dark slush piled up to the side.

It was winter like I had never seen it, and in the wrong time of year.

Our wedding was simple, something we both wanted. Family and friends down on the beach on St Paddy Day, something we will recreate one anniversary in Aus, if we're not elbow deep in alcohol already.

If there was one flaw that day, it was the cold.  Icebergs meandered along the beach as the wind pummelled us with what felt like Liquid Nitrogen.

But it all melted when I saw her.  I knew I loved her, but that moment was like I was back at that airport in 2010, seeing her beaming after eight months of wanting to meet, and seeing the exact same beam that made my heart skip a track.

It's been a long nine months.  Adjusting to everything from paying for items at the store and forgetting to add tax onto the advertised price, to having a small dog, to avoiding faux pas in conversation.  I've been trying to take notes of how different things are from home, but it doesn't feel very different.  Sure, everyone drives on the wrong side; money is made of paper and is all of it is green; And everyone second or third person will ask me or Jenny to translate my colloquiums.

But at its heart, this is home.  Jenny is my home.  And I am forever grateful I am finally here.

10 December 2014

My own personal Multi Game Pileup

OH THE HUMANITY
I've seen a backlog of games as long as my leg, thanks to Scotty.  He's a very dedicated purchaser of games that pique his interest.  Needless to say, he has a wide range of interests.

But I never thought I would have a backlog of games myself.  Sure, I have games that I have bought for the occasional time I'm feeling the mood, like Quake II or Endless Space.  And there are games I just own for the sake of owning, like Commander Keen.

But then there are games that I really want to play.  And given the discount, or enough incentive and motivation, I would snatch that up quick smart.  Like Fallout 3 that I picked up the other day for $5.  Or The Orange Box that I picked up for $5.  Or the numerous games that I have gotten for free over the last month.

It's starting to get a little out of hand, and I think I'm going to have to start a Schedule on what games I'm to play before it gets out of hand.

I know there are those who scoff at me, for my relative handful of games that I've left unplayed or unfinished.  Like I said, Scott has a pile as long as my leg.  Probably longer since I last saw him.  Lets hope I won't let it get that out of hand, and before I get more games.

Current List as it Stands

  • The Orange Box (Half Life 2, Episode 1, Episode 2)
  • Borderlands the Pre-Sequel
  • Fallout 3
  • Hitman
  • Tales from the Borderlands
  • Metro 2033
  • Final Fantasy Tactics
List for Achievement Completion
  • Borderlands 2
  • Xcom Enemy Within

03 December 2014

"Complete 10000 steps in 3 hours"

... Addiing this to Xmas List
Jenny got a Fitbit for her birthday, and she has been sporting the little pink wristband ever since. It's a cool device that tracks her activities throughout the day. Then she adds onto the app on her phone what stuff it can't track, like food and sleep. It's pretty impressive.

I don't have a fitbit. The closest think I have is Raptr, which tracks how much time I have in Video games. Which, in a way, can be a little embarrassing *Cough* Six-Hundred-Hours-On-Borderlands-2 *cough*

I started playing Fallout 3. I've tried a couple of times before to start it, and for one reason or another I just didn't get into it. Just couldn't, no reason why. Sometimes thinking that every little thing will change the entire future intimidates me into wanting to watch out for all the minuscule things that I do from start to finish.

But I've started again. Pushing through whatever consequences there are. I've already unintentionally killed off the Sheriff of Megaton, and I wonder if I could've stopped that sleazy guy wanting to blow up Megaton before he shot him. Now, for the most part, I'm exploring the world and learning how the game works.

For example, I knew there was a repair feature, but I didn't understand how it worked until one day I saw that I had two 10mm Pistols and could repair one using the other... but that was after I had sold a good 3 pistols to Moira. I really need to find somewhere to store shit.

It's pretty phenomenal how open the world is. I've played for a few hours and I've explored a portion of it, sneaking my way from landmark to landmark, dodging certain wildlife and Super Mutants with Miniguns (Mother Fuggin Bastards hiding in Bus Wrecks on the side of the road.)

Borderlands is open world. It's got area to it that's impressive. But you don't spend long periods of time looking for wildlife before you reach another landmark. You spend only moments before you have another fight on your hands. And I'm excluding driving in that example too. It's good because it's designed that way so that mission flow is fluid and not tedious to reach.

Then I thought about the 100-something-ish hours I've done in Skyrim.  Skyrim is a big game, the area it covers takes hours to cross from one side to the other (note: may not be multiple hours).  And I couldn't help but think about how much walking I've done in that.  Dungeons; towards new towns or landmarks; heck, even just wandering around town doing fetch quests.  Thousands upon thousands of steps.

If only I had a fitbit for my Video games.  And that it physically transferred to me.  That's every unhealthy nerds dream.

26 November 2014

Late Night Date Frights

"It's amazing how long the human body
acts without a frontal lobe."
There has been a spike in Scary games lately, one of which is Five Nights At Freddy's.  The premise is simple: you're a security guard at a Chuck-e-cheese clone.  You're to guard the Anamatronic Musical stars that tend to wander about at night.  And the manager warns that if they see a human, they think they're a mechanical skeleton that needs a body and will grab you and force you into a suit, killing you in the process.
Creepy, yeah?
I haven't purchased it, but it has been really fun to watch youtube videos of people freaking the fuck out when one of them will suddenly be staring at the camera (extremely creepily) or a children's song is playing as a pair of eyes glow as they approach you with your impending demise.
I made the mistake of watching a few of them before I went to bed one morning.  I didn't sleep well, needless to say. I woke in a cold sweat, made colder from the ridiculously cold weather of Michigan, and I just didn't even bother sleeping again after that.
The thing is, it's the kind of game you want to play after midnight, with the lights off, nothing but the dim glow of the computer monitor to light your way, giving an opportune time for your partner to put on a mask and scare the life out of you.
I've done that before with Doom.  Sure, that doesn't seem like a terrifying game, but it really seeps into your skin. Especially the bloody imp static growl.  I can never sleep when I hear that before bed.
When I get my PS4 though I want to get Alien Isolation and do that, and spike up my stress when I'm being chased by an Alien.  That just sounds Amazingly fun and terrifying.
I should load up the Aliens film again...

19 November 2014

Error

Post "404" not found.

... This would be funnier if this was conveniently on the fourth of April.  But I just waste my 404th post!  Wooo!

16 November 2014

Class Shooting 2015

So many classes, so many characters
I just saw the video for Overwatch and it got me thinking about Class Shooters and their rise in 2015.  This and Battleborn are both coming next year-ish and are equally PVP Class shooters that run with different characters.  But I find there's little separating them from each other apart from IP and some execution, which I wager will filter out into being equal in the end, short of some brand new game type they have secretly in the works.

Then again, what's the difference between these and Team Fortress 2?  Again, another PVP Class Shooter, each class with as much character as the last.

I'll admit, I'm not a big fan of PVP catered games.  Sure, they're fun for a little while but eventually I just end up having my arse handed to me over and over.  I do prefer a more cooperative environment, coordinating attacks against waves or arrangements of enemies.

In saying that, Evolve looks really fun.  Four players versus either an AI of a monster, or another Player of a Monster.  The Four players hunt down the monster, who starts off exceptionally weak and evolves into something that can possibly pick off a single player, and then evolves again to be able to take on all players at once.

Does PVP draw away from IP though?  Sure, you can have a background of characters and setting, even environments, but do they end up more than just a blurb that 25% of players may actually read?  Or will there be a story for those characters to play through?  Something that really brings them together more than just a mercenary contract coincidentally in the same spot, or mutual drive for survival?

And more importantly, will this change what games will come out next year?