31 December 2014

Dropping an F-Bomb on VG Social Networking

Not a Happy Camper
Everyone and their mother knows I've moved to Australia. And everyone I have met has been very amenable to that.

Like Xbox. When I called them up with my tale of romance, they said "Alright, we'll change the region of your account quicker than you can say "Bob is your mothers Brother."

Things were different in the Marketplace. There was Indie games that developers made games using your Xbox avatar, though they were a little cheap. I didn't have to worry about download codes I got in the US, because I could only use them now.  And when I get back home with Jenny, I can call Xbox again and say "Can you change it back please?"

This Xmas passed, I got a PlayStation 4.  I tore open the wrapping and shat myself as I marvelled at the box.  I had games I wanted, like GTAV, The Last of Us - Remastered, Little Big Planet 3, and The Evil Within.  I was ecstatic!

It wasn't until after hours of begging for permission that I was allowed to run downstairs into the basement lounge room to hook it up and play.  The first game I wanted to play though was GTA for one simple reason: First Person View.  And I was pleasantly entertained.  I still remark how phenomenal such a small thing can change your entire perspective of the game.

But there was one thing I had to do.  And that was load my Playstation Network account.

...

It wasn't until a couple of hours later, well after giving up and assuming that the PSN was flooded with new PS4 owners doing the same thing on their Xmas morn, that I was told it was Hacked.  Outrageous!  What kind of a mouth breathing fuck knuckle would ruin so many peoples day by hacking that?  The only thing you're promoting is playing offline, which I was going to do anyway!

The repercussions were there though and stuck around like a bad smell for the better part of the week. Xbox bounced back pretty well, but Playstation was down until the end of the weekend.  And I had to figure out my account.

I tried all the usual emails.  Gmail, Hotmail, even Bigpond!  I plugged in password after password to the point of blocking one account, possibly two.  But didn't I feel the horses arse when I found I wasn't even looking at the right email prefix in first place.

I was in though.  I had my entire account: Trophies, Profile Picture, purchase history.  They were all for me to grab and enjoy at my leisure.  And in my hand was the one game I was really excited to play: The Last of Us Remastered.

But it was in the form of a code.  It was a downloadable game, easily redeemable in the Playstation Store.  Just fit in the 12 digits, press X and say "Bob's your mo-"

"This code cannot be redeemed from your country."

"My fuggin wot?"

Oh, right.  I hadn't told them about how long ago I met jenny, how we began talking and continued to do so, and that I had moved across the planet to live with her finally.  That explains it.  Well, easily sorted!

I had the 1800 number in my phone, so I flipped the bugger open (yes, it's a flip phone. So Retro.) and buzzed them.  I was confident in how quickly this would resolve, considering my experience with Xbox.  Heck, I may just give the code to the customer service person and save me the trouble from plugging it into the PS4 again.

It took a half hour but I got through to an Indian Gentleman named Gary.  And he proceeded to tell me that the Region of my account cannot be changed and I must create another account if I want to Purchase or Redeem games from a US Playstation Store.

"I fuggin wot?"

You mean to say that my single account which I have built up over the past four years cannot expand on it's Library?  That I will have to get someone from Australia to purchase redeemable codes and subscriptions because my account cannot accept and American Credit Card?  That any game that I was eager to purchase for said Digital Library that is available on the US Store cannot be obtained?

I don't want another account.  I want my account.  I want to get The Last of Us Remastered on my PS4 using MY PERSONAL ACCOUNT.  That is apparently not the way of Playstation.  It was bad enough that I can't change my Gamer ID to remove the silly prefix I initially added so long ago, but now I have to do international trading to get something so simple as a Subscription.

Fuck you, Playstation Network.  I have to stick to buying Disc games until I can organise such a Ninja.  But I really want to redeem this code.  Can you do that, Muhamm-I mean, Gary?

"No, it cannot be redeemed on this account."

Well Fuck You again.  Now I have to make a new account.  If I download it with one, can the other play it?

"No."

FUCK YOU.  WHAT CAN I DO.

"You can use your new account with a wide variety of options, from purchasing Playstation products, to playing online with your friends."

FUCK YOU.

24 December 2014

All i want for Xmas is a TRPG

The more I think about it, the more I want it. The desire for a fantastic TRPG on all platforms, Playstation (3, 4, Vita) and Xbox (360 and One), iPad and Android, even PC, all interconnected as an MMO.

That would be awesome under the setting of Tactics Ogre, my favourite TRPG video of all time, and Episode 7 of a series that started at Episode 5 with Ogre Battle: March of the Black Queen.  So in saying that, would I like to play out episodes One through Four?  Hell to the fucking yes.  Release a chapter each year or two, and flesh out each story.  That's an option, if the others aren't just made as normal games.

I've thought of other games too.  Borderlands was one, by reincarnating Borderlands Legends into a TRPG, making the game into an opera of sorts and applying new and different classes and characters, maybe even some generics to throw around, then applying the key aspects like Guns and Elements, strange aliens, and the various combinations they can concoct.

What about Clash of Clans?  They have plenty of character but hardly any story.  You raid goblin villages without any repercussions!  Surely you'll have to fight the goblin king at some point.  And if there were more heroes, like an Archmage or a Sorceress, a branching storyline can be made!  Heck, a whole new faction would be great with a story of a rise to power.  And why not, you can do it in TRPG style!  That's my idea of fun!

While I can think about what I want though, there's the fact that there are TRPG's out there that I haven't played.  One of which is the very popular Banner Saga.  It's available on a variety of platforms, one of which is the Playstation 4, and I have that on my Video Game Wishlist, which continues to grow as time passes... but I can only wait until I can get another Xcom expansion to return.

21 December 2014

Not going to get excited

Touching, isn't it? *Ducks*
I feel pessimistic and sad when I see articles getting ecstatic about Nintendo Patenting Gameboy emulation software because there could be a sad demise lurking in the future for all those hopeful hearts.

Nintendo filed it a while ago and were recently approved for the patenting. And with having such an enormous and successful backlog of Gameboy games, it's a very lucrative investment turning them into purchasable downloads.

For years though, people have gotten away with the various third party emulators, downloadable from the internet, freely attainable on any android or windows device, Roms collected like candy from a piƱata.

That's going to change though. Nintendo can now send a cease and desist to whomever freely gives out an emulator. I'm actually surprised they didn't jump on the Rom distributors earlier, actually. But if there aren't any emulators, then what's the point in having the Roms, right?

But this patent, it's getting everyone so excited because they think Nintendo will play along and make their own Emulation App, which I admit would be nice. They could probably get the tablet controls nice and clean, some game pad functionality, Apple TV connectivity. Heck, I would be head over heels if they had the app available for Playstation TV so I could play both Tactics Ogre Games on the same device.

Then again they could, and probably should, just have the entire Gameboy library on for the Wii and DS on their eStore. Cheap too, I wouldn't expect any game to be over $5.

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 five years ago

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 five 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.
We've had a rocky nine months.  Adjusting to everything, from paying for items at the store, to having a small dog, to avoiding faux pars 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 always green; And everyone will ask me or Jenny to translate.

But at its heart, this is home.  Jenny is my home.  And I am glad I am finally there.

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?

12 November 2014

Nothing Rhymes with Orange (Box)

Needless to say, I have a catalogue of games that I haven't even touched.  Quake 4 was untouched until a few months ago, and so was Doom 3, though I do have to return to that.
But when I woke up morning to drudge through the tedium of Destiny to find a $5 deal on what is considered a religious experience in video games, I had to have it.  What is $5 after all when you're buying five games at once?
I haven't played Half Life in decades.  It's been so long that I can't even remember what platform I actually played it on.  I think it was Playstation, but it could've been an Xbox.  But I do remember that it was fun and challenging.
I don't know much about Half Life 2 except that it was very VERY popular when Scott and Aaron had played it those decades ago, and that it has spawned a cult which involves creating a hidden announcement about Half Life 3 from the most pedantic details, and run through a Rube Goldberg machine of mathematics and pop culture references until it results in the number 3, with possibly more coming to provide dates and times.  Kinda like the coming of the apocalypse.
So I dove into the game and found myself feeling like the game has actually aged really well.  Conversations and animations are all really quite good.  Not blocky, not cheap.  A real production value hampered only by the ability of a household computer.
It's a good day when a game can actually do that to you, whether it's frustrating you by how tiny and agile those fucking headcrabs are and making you waste far too much of your ammunition to warrant killing them, to making you really panic when other characters are giving you the fear of God.  Or better yet, making you want to flip the bird to who you think is the antagonist (At least I think he is, you know, the guy providing the scientific propaganda?).
I'm yet to finish the first game and move onto Episode 1 and 2, because I've either been binge watching Raising Hope and My Name is Earl, or playing through some Borderlands the Pre-Sequel while wishing Destiny had the same effort put into it without the plans of exploitation of their devoted fans, but I'm pushing through chapter by chapter.
I might just load it up now, actually...

09 November 2014

Self Blindness

What has been seen cannot be unseen
I was looking at a Kotaku post about the ideal shooter and it struck me as pretty true.  The points of being a shooter were spot on, and the biggest thing I agreed with was the lack of verticality that Valve apparently implored other developers in past interviews.

The thing that stuck with me was the point about Feedback, where shooting something did more than just an arbitrary "You hit" notice.  You had a visual impact, whether it was the shattering of a pane of glass, to the flinch and limp of an enemy on their last legs.  And it got me thinking about another post about Number Games.

I've been playing Half Life 2 and I've gotten back to actually tracking how much ammunition it takes to drop an enemy.  It's something I've done for ages, all the way back to playing Doom.  It made the difference between knowing I have the right weapon and having to back pedal out of dodge.

Some other games I've played don't have to worry about that because of Health Bars and Digits.  You get to know if you've clocked someone in the head and how much that should impede them.  If you get one lucky sniper shot into someone's head and it only takes off 25% of that bar, you already know you're in for a bad time.

So how much of a difference would it make to just drop the bar entirely?

Borderlands The Pre-Sequel is my latest game to have this.  They've always had the digits jump out on a successful hit and it's bothered me a little because it would get in the way of what I was aiming for, especially if I had a bee line for someone's head.

On top of that, it provided the information of what I could use to counter it. Red Bars required Fire.  Blue required Shock.  Yellow required Corrosive.  After that, you could explode them or freeze them.  Sometimes it was pretty obvious what was required to take down whatever behemoth or minion was throwing themselves at you, but occasionally it didn't.  That was what make me think.  If I had to figure out what I had to use, then that'd make the game very different.

Sure, the game provides those visual effects to show that "Hey, they've lost shield" or "this element is super effective against such and such", but it's a bit overshadowed by the cacophony of digits jumping out from the guy like hordes of rats from a sinking ship.  The only thing that doesn't is when the enemy is on about 15% health and is limping their way towards you.

I look back at Xcom: Enemy Unknown.  There's an option that I'm going to use on it's next expansion which removes the Health Bar from enemies, so you have to guess how hard you have to hit something before you move on.  It's a little thing that can change how you play.

Do I want that for other games?  Not necessarily.  But I would like the option.

05 November 2014

I'm a bit late to the show, but I got there

It's so close to the truth.
I heard about Playstation TV a while ago and quickly brushed it off as a Sony Clone of Apple TV.  While I wasn't far from the truth, since it does provide services that Apple TV does, I did not realise that it could also play Playstation Portable and Vita games.  And that's gotten me interested in it.

I've been desiring for a long time to be able to play my PSP games on the TV, believing whole heartedly that the big name consoles should be able to provide that support.  It shouldn't be too difficult to provide an Inbuilt Emulator, right?  Just download it in a patch or something.  That'd do it.

Alas, my beliefs were pushed back by arguments of lacking hardware compatibility to match the system requirements.  Sure the console might be more powerful but it's like mapping the thoughts of a dog to a cats brain, to put it crudely.

So I sighed and dreamt of such a device that would do that.  There was a moment of optimism when I saw a patent for an external device that would do such a thing for the PS3, but that was just them covering their bases.

The last I even heard about any form of backward compatibility was the Playstation Now, where you hire games for an exorbitant amount of money, and you can simply stream the game from their servers onto your TV through your console.  While I can appreciate this, that's just too much money for what I want.

But this Playstation TV, a little device that has the similar area to a deck of cards, will give me what I want out of a console.  The ability to play my Playstation Portable games on the Big Screen.  I may have to re-download a couple of them, such as Tactics Ogre and Final Fantasy Tactics, but it's exactly what I want.  It won't kill my neck playing them from looking down because I'll be staring straight on.  And the feel of an actual controller will be sublime.

Credit where credit is due, though, I won't be able to play certain PSVita games due to the lack of compatibility between the Game and the PS3/PS4 Dualshock Controllers.  But I'll have that completely under consideration when the time comes.

If only though I could play the PSTV through my PS4 when I get it, like the Xbone can do with it's HDMI Input and the Xbox 360.

04 November 2014

Soft Hitting, or Complacency?

Probably more interesting than Handsome Jack... Probably.
Finally finished Borderlands the PreSequel.  And I feel... Unaccomplished.
Spoiler Alert! The following post contains spoilers of Borderlands The PreSequel!
The game starts us right in the middle of things with the invasion of Helios Station.  A Dahl corporation army is taking over all the right spots just so they can control the Eye of Helios, an inbuilt Superweapon, and then use it against Elpis to ultimately destroy the Natural, and Inhabited, Satellite.
Simple Plan, no?  Pretty quickly they get control and you are transported down to the Moons Surface using a Cannon and a Cargo container you're hidng in.  Jack, the subject of our story, remains on the space station to try to do his part in helping the players from on high.
Australian Lesbians and Scavengers (Scavs for Short) ensue, and the Vault Hunters are sent on a handful of tasks to regain control of Helios.
The game seems to drag in the start.  The players end up bounding (literally) across a lava and ice covered surface to reach structures of broken down battleships to reclaim Vehicle Digistructs, AI Intelligences, and a Robotics Factory before returning to Helios and doing your part to push back the incursion and reclaim the eye of Helios, then get to the task of finding the Vault on the Moon as is the original task.
The subject of Jack is a pretty quick (de?)evolution into what he is known as today.  As soon as you reach the games main Hub Town, Concordia, you see that he's a trusting sort of fella, and someone who does not expect to be backstabbed.  Unfortunately for him, getting literally shot in the back flings him into the spiral that is a life of mistrust and calculated anger against almost every single person alive.
The problem I find is that, while the moulding of Jack into Handsome Jack is the main subject of the story, it pulls away from the other characters too much.  And while it does a rather good job of rounding off his attitude pretty well, I still want to know more about these other characters.  Which, sadly, isn't a particularly large cast.
The main problem I have though is a lack of climatic events that change your attitude.  Halfway through Borderlands 2, I had a change of heart.  I felt a little lackadaisicle at first, feeling Handsome Jack was all bark and no bite.  But that quickly changed.  And not once, but twice.
Here, there weren't really any changes of heart.  And I don't know whether it was because I hadn't thought about what was going on, or because they weren't strong enough to actually make me feel something.
It first happened with Skipper, a computer AI that was commandeered for the purpose of creating a Robotic Army from a computer Tech who felt he needed a girlfriend, and could only get one through his floating computer chair.  He was also a boss fight, by the way.
Skipper was happy to have been taken away from him and be put to more use than faking a relationship, so much so that she changed her name to Felicity to symbolise her freedom.  She was so happy and excited to lead her new life.
Come the time where the players are in the factory.  They're walking through, clearing Scavs and Torks to reach the computer system to insert Felicity.  All the while Felicity is coming to the slow realisation that she doesn't want to be plugged into a machine and reduced to simple combat components.  While pleading for her life by providing the alternative of Copying her intelligence and reducing that, Jack took time as the priority and put forth the order, which threw Felicity into Rampancy, accompanied by her new experimental body as a Constructor.  It was a pretty obvious eventaulity that the player would win that fight, and she would become akin to a bloated Dalek, but I don't know why it didn't hit me so hard.
The second climatic twist was the Eye of Helios.  Being a Space Station, you easily think "Oh yeah, it's a giant laser the station powers".  But there are little hints plonked down that it isn't just any Laser.  Apparently the kind of power it's generating is actually something that a giant laser couldn't accomplish.
Turns out it's the Eye of the Destroyer, the Vault Monster at the end of the first Borderlands Game.  That was a cool twist.  The Destroyer in Borderlands 1 turned out to be a pretty lame boss in the first game and felt it was essentially left as a note in history, so it was good to see that it made not one, but two appearances in the game.  A side mission a little earlier on has the players search for a secret laboratory and find a genetic recreation of it, though much smaller and dismissed by Jack as being useless and thusly executed.
Though Jack should've been a bit more careful with that since Moxxi and Co ended up betraying him and destroying the eye.  Sure, he tried to get it back together so he could use it again, but telling a Vault Hunter to use a laser on it after it'd just been soldered back together is just a terrible idea in itself.
The more I think about it, the more I wonder whether it really was complacency in knowing what the future holds, or even sleep deprivation since I did a few stints in the middle of the night, that left me feeling unenthused about the events.  The cries of Felicity as her character was torn down to minimal instinctual programming; the roar of the Destroyer as it was pumped with poison to the point of exploding; the anger of betrayal towards Jack and the utter disbelief that they would turn on him: the Hero, a title he claims at every instance.
I do hope that the DLC's make more use of other characters though.  Sure, Jack was the big focus on the game, but there is more to the game than the focus on one character.  Because there are only a few other new characters that appear, Janey Springs and Nurse Nina, that expand the cast since every other character met through side missions are either recycled from other iterations, or are one shot jokes of Humour.  Like Captain Chef, a pioneer and discoverer of worlds who claims the Moon twice in the name of his King by saluting the Royal flag while you hoist it and fend off locals.
Who I'm really excited for is the Mysterious Guardian, though.  He makes two appearances, once at the beginning of the game when he defends Zarpedon from being attacked, and in a Teaser clip after the Credits when he defends Athena from the firing line and provides words of forboding, which put a little tingle in my pants for the next game, which a small part of me wishes it would be a Shared World MMO, like Destiny, only immensely more Interesting, though I highly doubt it.

29 October 2014

I bet the he stole it from the Tinman

That Lion is a bastard
So with this Gaming Over Time ordeal still happening, with My Clash of Clans village slowly grinding up between Wars, my Boom Beach Island improving at a much more individual rate, and now entering Simpsons Tapped Out, there is one more game I've been partially playing: Lionheart Tactics.

I'm a fan of tactical games so I was eager to get started and find out what this game was like and take notes on how it works everything out.

I began with my Hero, asleep in bed and stared at by a strange black knight looming from across the room. So I did what any other character would: followed the tutorial and did as I was told. It wouldn't be for a few matches that I would finally have freedom to do my own attacking with my own band of troops that had joined me from the castle and a local inn.

Now, I had all the basic archetypes and the only thing left was to continue defending the kingdom by attacking these Black Knights of the Mirror. I'm not sure what the mirror is, but it's bad is all I know.

The problem is, and I know it's petty, but I don't like the Aesthetics. It's colours are too dull and dark, even with the brightness turned up, and all the map and character models look very meh. It's not them, it's me. I can get picky with certain art styles sometimes, and it puts me off. Still, I took notes on the game itself, because I don't see why I can't think how another game, that I happen to really enjoy, wouldn't be able to take advantage of this format.

Characters level up as normal, gaining experience with each encounter, the majority to those who fought hardest.

Skills are then learnt in the barracks, placing down gold and waiting Minutes/hours/days for that to reach the next tier. Skills are based on the characters class, of which you cannot change out.

New skills are learnt by gaining ranks, as each new characters begin at a Novice Rank, and then Work their way up to Ultimate.

Special resources are available as Crowns, earns in game in small values, and can be used to expediate learning and Healing.

Characters do not end battle completely healed and ready for the next battle. They must heal over time. So far I've seen that the rate is a constant and the duration increases based on the amount of health lost.

You do not heal in battle. If you have a healing source, you gain Temporary Hit Points which disappear at the end of the fight.

If you die in a fight, that character cannot be used for a period of time. Whether the downtime is based on health or rank, or if it's a set time, I'm not sure. I've only died with one character, the Brogue Thief. (Seriously, she's a terrible stereotype of a Pom.)

Purchases are Random. That's one thing that irks me most. You spend a bunch of gold and you'll end up with potentially 3 pieces of junk you weren't looking for. Same with Promotion Stones, you could spend much more money than you want trying to get one stone you need. Same with if you want to buy a new soldier. You pay, and it rolls up a random Character.

It's unappealing. To get anything definite, you have to sink in money to Hero packs which may also give you a bonus of gold and crowns on top.

Microtransactions have never been a problem since I make a point not to spend money on something like in game currency, and especially since I have no real life money at the best of times, but there is still a point where I just get turned off by it, and that just barely reaches it.

All these notes make me think of one of my favourite tactical RPGs, Tactics Ogre. Directed by Yasumi Matsuno, it is a fantastic piece of work that I still play today when I charge my PSP. So thinking of a game like that, knowing that the world of Ogre Battle is immense and full of conflict, it makes me feel funny in the pants and wish it were real.

Because all those silly aesthetic irks I have would disappear. I adore the art style of Tactics ogre games. But frankly, I would buy any Ogre Battle game that comes out in the future, and every night I clasp my little hands together and wish that another would come. Or another remake of the older ones.

28 October 2014

Fragmented Fragtrap

I roll my d34.
Claptrap the Fragtrap.  He's a robot who has gone from a simple doorbot to a lean mean killing machine, complete with stair climbing protocols.

While that may not seem like much to a human, it's a life changing event to be a CL4P-TP and be able to roll up stairs.

With becoming a Vault Hunter, he can now grow in a trio of ways.  And I chose to go with the Fragmented Fragtrap, because I thought it was interesting and fun.

But after finishing the game once, I feel I should be frank and say that any player should leave this until higher levels.

Lets explain it.  The whole tree is based on Subroutines.  Every 100 seconds, or however many Frag Stacks you have on screen at the time, you change subroutines which increases a specific aspect and detrimenting every other aspect.

It starts with Gun and Shield Subroutines, giving you a bonus to Gun Damage, Reload and Fire Rate, or a bonus to Shield Capacity and Health Regeneration, but then expands out to a Melee Subroutine and Elemental Subroutines.  But the counter is that you suffer a penalty to Gun Damage, or Element Damage, of any other type.  So there's always a chance you'll be doing between 75-85% damage regardless of what you have equipped.  Mind, if you're equipped correctly, you'll be doing from 120-132% damage.  That's pretty sweet.

But therein lies the problem.  There are 7 Weapon Types, 5 Elements, and then you account Melee and Shield.  That means that you have a 1 in 14 chance you'll end up with the right weapon if it rolls up.  Do I like those odds?  Not particularly.

I have a regular setup for my four weapons to cover most instances.  I'll have a Fire, Shock and Corrosive weapon, and then a Miscellaneous in the fourth slot.  If it were Borderlands 2, it'd be a Slag weapon, but that's not discovered yet (Hence Pre-Sequel).  So lately I've assigned it to Cryo, because it's new and it's fun.

Then I cover my ammunition count by having different weapon types.  I prefer my Automatic weapons, so there'll be a Combat Rifle and an SMG in there off the bat.  I will be picky, but there will be a certain type of Laser Weapon in there too, because they're freakin awesome.  Then, by process of Elimination through the rule of Spray and Pray, that'll leave a Pistol in the last slot.

So I'll have 8 chances of having a bonus to weapon damage, 7 if I drop the Melee option (Which I may do since I don't do enough Melee to account it).  Fair enough, that's not too bad.  But since it's level 30, I can't exactly go about and pick and choose what weapons I want.  I have a variety to choose from but, and this is something I've noticed closer to the game, there are a shed load of white guns being dropped about.  I can't use Common guns.  And grinding is spending a lot of time on chances that probably won't happen.

It's what you would call a Dilemma.

But this will be an entirely different story at later levels.  Once I reach 50, and find where the best legendary weapons are hiding, I'll dive straight back into this and start really screwing everyone and everything over.

For now though?  I'll jump over to Boomtrap.  I do like the 1812 Overture, after all.

22 October 2014

Take me down to Cerberon City

#Quake
Quake II is one of my all time favourite games.  I flogged the shit out of the Demo back in the day, wishing I could play it more and finish it properly, but it was a number of years before I could.

Now I have it on Steam and I download it occasionally when I want some nostalgia.   I only wish I could play it with it's music because, like some of it's predecessors, it doesn't have any unless you have a disc in. This can easily be solved by mods, of which I haven't gotten around to trying yet, but will next time I install the game.

Recently I had a crack at it's Sequel, Quake 4.  Yes, Four, because the third iteration was taken over by a Multiplayer Arena game that, while cool, was a bit of a disappointment due to the more severe derailment of theme.  Especially since Quake was abut fighting demons in extremely cool gothic settings, then Quake II changed it to fighting Barbaric Cyborgs.

Quake 4 at least brought it back to the theme of fighting Barbaric Cyborgs.  So I decided to give it a crack this year because I have a computer that actually worked and could play this and Doom 3 (though not the BFG Edition, apparently.)

It's a huge leap from the Quake II I remember where occasionally I would double tap the F1 key to get rid of the notification of an updated mission, and push on gibbing anything and everything that plonked itself in front of me, while actually admiring the dirty, rusting militaristic architecture of the levels.

One of my favourite enemies was the Berserker, with a Hammer as one hand and a pointy hunk of metal as the other arm. He would scare the shit out of you as he bolted around corners, chasing you down while you backpedal playing Keepaway.

The New Berserker though is much more... Shocking. He can shoot lightning from his spike, or send a wave from punching the ground and it's very disorienting.  But he still chases you down until you're within boxing range and proceeds to pummel you into paste.

That's what I like about him.  He's simple and aggressive.  Easy to stop too, but that doesn't mean his flavour is any less lacking.

But while the game is fun in it's own right, difficult in dodging all the baddies and their dangerous methods of murder, it didn't quite feel the same as the Quake II I know and love, and I can't quite put my finger on it.  I've been debating over it for months now, wondering whether it's the style that's put me off, or the gameplay though it's not too much different, or just how it's showing it's age now that I've gotten into it almost a decade later, where now games are in a Cinematic Wonderland.

I can't quite put my finger on it.  The closest I can get is that the game is trying too hard to be realistic and it kinda ruins the art style.  Quake II was cartoonish, and was indistinguishable when it came to certain details of the face and such, but the rest was clear and gave you a feel of being in an alien military world.  Everything was efficient and little was done for style.  The Palace was one of the funnest areas I've had the pleasure of roaming around, transitioning between three (or four, i forget) levels trying to find one piece to get into another area and then eventually returning to finish the job.

This didn't offer that.  it was a series of convoluted mazes and corridor encounters between big room boss fights/wave fights.  I like a big dramatic fight with a new powerful enemy, such as the dual spider Strogg in Quake IV, but I couldn't get into much after that.  Even the Makron fight wasn't as terrifying.

I dunno.  If they do a new Quake, I do want them to keep with the Stroggos fight.  That was always fun.  But don't try to get too realistic.  And give me something to really fight for.  Make me want to railgun a Makron through the giant brain.

21 October 2014

Exempting Language

Have a link to quotes
I'm a proud Australian. I think of home and I think of the long beaches, the mateship culture that epitomises my home, and the fun you can have going down the Main Street of Brisbane.  It puts a warm fuzzy feeling inside me that I haven't felt since I've moved to Murica.  But then again, that could just be the fucking cold weather here.
Being a video gamer, I have gotten accustomed to the Murican accents that are ever present regardless of the setting, whether it's Medieval Europe or the far flung future, where everyone might have some sort of translating device to accommodate the clicks and whirs of a strange insectoid race, but it still comes through the same if not in subtitles.
There are always a few examples of vocal multiculturalism and it always comes down to specific characters, whether it's the Bad Guy in an American action film, or an ally in a Class based shooter.
I've done a couple of aesthetic swaps in a few games.  Remember Me was set in Neo Paris so I changed the voices to French and added subtitles, because I can't understand Francais.  And I did the same with Metro 2033 with Russian Language.
Borderlands the Pre-Sequel is predominantly Okka, and I've been a bit excited about that. To hear an accent from home in a video game?  Bloody Oath!  And since it's in one of my favourite game settings, that just makes it better.
There are Australian references everywhere, from lunatics calling "lucky bastard" in his final breath, to a bloke called Peepot looking for his Swagman mate who found a bIllabong and tucked a Jumbuck in his tucker bag.  It's pretty funny, some of the lines are clever and the discussions with some of my Murican friends have brought out more and more laughs.
But with everything that ever is and was, there is something embarrassing.  Something that comes for the pierced midriff and muffin top of Australian Culture.  And they're called Bogans.
The item in Question: the Boganella, a shotgun that has an inbuilt voice chip with lines of a typical durry smoking, foul mouthed, Southern Cross Tramp Stamp Tart that would get into a fight with your common blue collar bloke in a pub because he wouldn't buy her a pack of smokes in trade for a dash up her crotch monster.
The thing is, the vocabulary of one of these yellow toothed charmers is vulgar.  It's downright shocking, and it's really unsettling to hear my character yelling out profanities like an episode of Jerry Springer had just been turned up to 11 as I bounded across the moon of Pandora.  No enemy spoke like this, they were relatively tame compared to this Muffin Topped Slapper of a Shotgun.
There is only one thing I can do and that's boycott the gun when it comes up again, which it will due to second playthroughs and multiple characters that I will surely be doing.  See the 600 hours I've spent on Borderlands 2.

15 October 2014

"How do YOU like target practice? Huh? HUH?!"


So the other day, I had the biggest giggity goo I could have had for Borderlands the Pre-Sequel.  I'd watched the gameplay videos of Shmaptain Shmerica, WIL-209, and Clara Eastwood, and I thought "yeah, they're going to be fun to play."  And I even noted that the experience would be only slightly different because of the voice overs becoming more personal so replaying as different characters wouldn't just mean killing the same monster with a different class, it changes your emotional status towards it too since you get treated differently because of that class.
But what has been left last was CL4P-TP (Pron: Claptrap) the Fragtrap.  And he has just made my day.
In times before he has been an Iconic character, a target for abuse and for ridicule.  Even in Borderlands 2, he was incredibly depressing with a cheerful voice due to a malfunction.  His birthday was incredibly sad.
At one point, he had power.  He was the leader of a Revolution.  He brought his kind to power, converting those who were against him into one of his minions.  Granted, he was brought down a number of notches due to Vault Hunters, but at least he got far enough that the subjugation came to an end.
Now, in the Pre-sequel, the bridge between his fall from grace to a lonesome and pitiful life as the last of his species, we see him try again to kick arse and chew bubblegum.  And he has no way of chewing bubblegum.
Claptrap starts as any other Vault Hunter.  He has his guns and he has his Action Skill.  But rather than do one super thing for a period of time when available, just like any other Vault Hunter in the game, his action skill begins a program: VaultHunter.EXE.  It determines parameters and from a list of options activates anything from Digistructing a Bomb that he can chase someone down with, to firing cannons to the melody of the 1812 Overture.
Once I heard that, I knew I had to do something about it.  I knew I had to restart the Robolution.  It was my destiny, and the destiny of my friends to join me in helping take over the Moon of Pandora.
I just hope they have a Che Guevara outfit.  My Partisans need to know who's boss.

14 October 2014

Struggle Town, Destiny

Please fill in the Blanks
It's been irking me for weeks, this game.  I jump on there every day, fulfill a few bounties, and then log off to do whatever.  The game has become a chore, with seemingly superfluous goals.  Levelling up faction scores just to make better gear available.

But what really bothers me is that the game is so shallow.  Like, immensely shallow.  I know the four zones inside and out.  I know how to blitz a story mission from the get go.  It's just the same thing over and over again.

But I can only say that it's my fault.  I continue to look at it at a glance and think "it's an MMO", but then my second thoughts say "No, they never said it was an MMO."  Then my third thoughts say "It fucking well should be an MMO."

When I think MMO, I think of games like World of Warcraft, and Wildstar.  They have IMMENSE worlds which can take days to full explore.  Not to mention it takes about the same time to reach the maximum level.

Destiny as a single player game feels much like a Halo game, where you can finish the game in a matter of hours, and to top it off you'll be at maximum level.  Then after that, you're just repeating the same missions, regularly doing the same thing twice in a row.

The story itself is incredulously shallow too.  There's little definition in anything.  The Traveller lost to the darkness, and now uses Guardians to fight them off.  You as a Guardian find a Russian Warmind, travel to other planets to get more information and pieces to access the secret realm where you end up fighting what's considered a God.

And Bob's your mothers brother, that's the story.  Not "In a nutshell".  The nutshell is the story.  I know it's a template to develop other stories within the game, but goddamn it you could've started off with a better starting story.

All in all, I can't look at it as an MMO.  I struggle to call it anything more than a Template.  The potential is too large for it as a start, and I am getting very tired of playing the game only to complete some daily missions for little return.

I want this game to succeed and fulfill all that potential, and I'm annoyed to say that I will be investing more into the game, just because of that fact.  I just hope that by my investment, I won't regret it.

08 October 2014

Spectator eSports

That's right, Jockstrap.
Working in a pub has been nice these past few weeks. But I have to admit, it does tend to be a little boring some days. Especially early during the week when everyone is being sensible and going to bed early for work the next morning.

Since it's a sports pub, I am left a little to my own devices and watching the Telly's and the sports channels they're usually playing. I don't normally watch sports. I just haven't been that interested in simply watching them, as I would rather play. Not that I did much of that in my prime, that's far from the point.

What I have done in my prime and continued to do is play Video Games.  I've learnt some of the plays, I've experienced rise and downfall in shooters and strategys alike, and I've kept a stray eye on the slow rise in the evolution of Multiplayer into a competitive environment.

I couldn't give you a history of Competitive Multiplayer, but as anyone can tell you it has evolved enormously over the years and, in some cases, overtaken peoples lives in Video Games.  Shooters were once evenly matched with equipment littered across a field with powerups in dangerous open fields or hallways.   Now you can customise your player from your class down to what equipment you're fighting with.

Strategy games have always had a difference between factions, but now within a single faction you can have different play styles, which on top of that will change the flow of a massive firefight into a bloodbath.

And now over the last half dozen years, a new style has risen.  MOBA: Multiplayer Online Battle Arena.  This has begun taking forms of it's own, and very quickly began world wide tournaments.  This is what begun my thoughts on this, when the International DOTA Tournament was televised on ESPN2 (conveniently a channel that the bar has).

From what I've read ESPN were happy with the results, seeing that there was an enormous fan base getting into what is a relatively untapped source of audience for Television.  There already are online channels to watch these sorts of shows, some bigger than others, but they're all there, and the range can only get bigger.  Maybe one day ESPN will dedicate a channel to talking Video Game Tournaments.

I can only wonder what other games will be added on to these tournaments though that will try to compete with big name games?  An upcoming game from Gearbox, Battleborn, is taking the MOBA style and adding it to a Shooter Format, both extremely competitive and popular features that, given the right balance and continued support, will have world tournaments in as short a time as a year.

The other thing though is Culture.  Watching Gridiron, Soccer, Cricket, whatever, it's all a thing of physical skill that other people admire and respect.  Televising these things have been on for decades, and while adding eSports won't rock the boat, it still confuses and scares some people that this other culture of "slovenly nerds clicking on a computer screens" will suddenly be added onto the Top 10 Mishaps on Sportscenter, like when someone disconnects from Battle.Net during a Starcraft Tournament (Give Us LAN Or Give Us More Minerals).

I still remember the series of tweets crying in despair about why ESPN is airing a non athletic sport on their channels.  While funny, it will be interesting if or when the channels really decide to throw all their eggs in and start airing a lot more than just DOTA.

07 October 2014

Fraternising with the Locals

"You refuse to play Crucible?  I don't date cowards."
- Lord Aaron D
So part of destiny is that it is a Social Game.  You'll always see other players roaming about, farming materials, shooting enemies of the Traveller, or just dancing on Venus to the Guardians of the Galaxy Soundtrack.
Occasionally, you'll join a fireteam, whether through matchmaking or just someone randomly inviting you at the tower, and, just as meeting them in the bar, they'll always be a character.
One time during a Strike mission, I was matched up with these two guys and we took down a Fallen Devil Walker, a massive spider tank that I'm a bit of a fan of.
Then I got a message in Xbox live.
"Asshole".
Well fuck you too buddy, I first thought.  Nobody should just be called an asshole from nowhere.  I've had strangers in cars drive by and call me a racist cunt before, and I just let them drive on and wish them a fiery and gruesome car crash for wasting two seconds of my time.
But this cropped out of nowhere.  I didn't do anything against him, we were all in this together.  We were fighting the good fight.  Brothers in arms.  So I just sent him the most complicated question in the world. "Why?"
"He needed to kill that Walker."
Fair cop.  I thought kills of this nature were shared between the team,  it apparently is not.  That is the surprise of Destiny.  I apologised and said that he can find the same Walker in Patrol missions, but that just wasn't enough apparently.  But we finished the mission, and parted ways, but it stuck with me.
Like a guy I met the other day.  We began talking, I told him my history and he was like "Yeah... We have a lot of blacks."
My face scrunched up, much to his obliviousness, and said the only thing I could scrounge up. "Okaaaaayyyyy..."
"Yeah, there's a few good ones, like they're smart and stuff, but... They're mostly pretty dumb."
"... Right."
I just couldn't believe this topic just cropped up, literally out of nothing. I did my best and turned it back to killing shit in Destiny, but it continued to niggle in my mind that this random guy just immediately began ragging on the local African American Community for no apparent reason.  It just threw me off the bus and made me walk the rest of the way to school.
I haven't spoken to him since, but he'll still be in the back of my mind when I get a fireteam request, because there's always a chance someone will just be weirdly offensive.

01 October 2014

WWID: Tablet Sci Fi Strategy Game

For the last few months, I've been searching for a particular game for my tablet/phone to suit a particular taste but have yet to actually find anything to satiate it.

I've mentioned before that I've been playing a pair of strategy games on my tablet device, Boom Beach and Clash of Clans. I've improved and empowered everything slowly but steadily over the months to where I am now, somewhere rather respectable but still room for improvement. I've learnt the strategies, I've joined clans, I've continued to fight back against NPC's and players constantly.

But the thing is, I want to round off the themes. Clash of Clans is Medieval Fantasy; Boom Beach is Modern; So where's the Future? Where are the Gauss rifles on my standard infantry? where are my Walker Combat Machines? Where is my Planetary Defence Solution?

I've looked at game after game and each time after another they leave me terribly cold, simply because there is so little actual strategy to them.

Like "Galaxy on Fire: Alliances". The theme is there, with different playable races changing certain passive effects. But... what is there to play? All i did was check in for upgrades and purchasing non-descript soldiers, or buy Aerial combat vehicles that have a Rock/Paper/Scissors effect between them.

Then you assign them to your Carrier ships, which you can build and upgrade to your hearts content, and then send them off to do whatever, occasionally having to catering their loadout to suit what combat they will be entering.

It was all so terribly cold, and I didn't like that. Not to mention you couldn't actually understand what your limitations were. It was all guessing.

Galaxy Legend was a step in the right direction, where combat was much more of a visual effect, but I really didn't have to do anything other than place my characters in formation and let them do their thing. Everything was much more graphic, I could see the building's upgrades and they all had a role, but it wasn't my home to really defend. It was a city that I was involved with.

The most fun I had was a game called Plundernauts. You were a Pirate in search of an incredible treasure. You had a ship and you outfitted it as you levelled up and improved it. The actual play of it was fun, you line out your ships directions and tap on who you want to shoot at with whatever guns are in range. You had to do strafing runs, trigger healing and shield tech to help you, while you navigated around walls and obstacles.

What turned me off was that to get better equipment, you had to do a random roll. You sacrificed 3 items, most of the time they were superfluous, like Toxic Ooze, Meteorite Diamonds, and a Cybernetics Array, and you would randomly generated a piece of equipment. The gun would go either really well, or really piss poor. And if you had three piss poor items, you could just sacrifice them back into the Armoury, and they'd randomly roll into one other item, which again could go either way. You always had to watch out what you were tossing into the Cauldron, because there would always be a ridiculous chance that you would come out with Junk.

While the game itself was really fun, that just turned me off. Mainly because I just kept getting flogged with more and more junk, and repeating the cycle again and again, spending more and more dosh into it until I just got fed up.

I'm still going to continue my search for a Futuristic Strategy Game that suits, but why not put down a wishlist of what I really want?

Home base. There's a couple of ways about this. The most common way I've ever seen in these strategy games is a large field where you place your buildings and defend them from there. Enemy troops simply appear from nowhere where appropriate and start their attack onwards. Mind, those have all been Medieval theme games. That doesn't seem like something a Future game would let happen, teleporting Warriors from nowhere.

No, I like what Boom Beach does, where you have a Landing Craft and the squad of soldiers assigned to that craft would begin their assault, which could always change depending on what beach they landed apon.

That's what I imagine a Future game to do. Dropships flying in and dropping off their cargo and bolting back to safety to their Carrier. Enemy bases would have their different methods of entry to their territories, but players can have the most basic option of having one wide side of entry or having multiple entries whereby they can spread their defences. Heck, maybe they could just keep the layout and change the theme. It'd be nice to see a change from certain environments once in a while.

Structures would be typical. Headquarters, Barracks, Armoury, Special Ops Facility. Then buildings that provide currency and building materials to further everything until they reach parity. In which case, I don't know what one would do with those materials once there's no use for them...

Soldiers are something I would like to see customisable. Samurai Siege had a feature where you didn't just level up the Warriors, you also leveled up and changed their equipment. So you could have Warriors that did large amounts of damage in single strokes, or trade in their swords to deal less damage, but in an AOE. Same with Commanders, they could either tell Warriors to target defensive structures, or just make them move and attack faster.

So why not have that for future soldiers? Change their equipment so they take on different enemies in different ways, like a choice between Kinetic or Electric damage? Changing the way they take on different opponents.

On top of that, Heroes. Deeply customisable characters that can again change the way the player attacks or defends, based on what abilities and equipment have been chosen. Supporting their fellow soldiers as they're sent into the field, or helping structures at home base in economy or defence. They would have something like a skill tree, or a general layout of bonuses that would get picked and chosen, but not fully filled out as to create a players personal play style.

Occasionally there would be specialised tactical events. Place your heroes on a grid layout and have them assault a story mission. No backup, just the Heroes delving into a ruin or an enemy structure over a turn based layout, to gain themselves a special bonus for the day/week/month.

Races. All players should have their choice of races which change the three main aspects of the game: Offence, Defence, and Economy. Each in their own ways, of course. It's either that, or just change their skins to match a basic layout, but that just loses the entire point of having different races.

Factions.  Much like Clans, you sign up to an alliance with friends, or strangers, and have wars between attacking NPC's or other random players that litter your local galactic regions.  Boom Beach has tribesmen offering you gold, with certain bases designed for specific resources.  So similarly clear out an NPC Enemy base and your farm your currency from there, and again certain defensible bases for building resources.

Then, once you get yourself to maximum level, where there's nothing left for you to actually purchase or upgrade, buy some aesthetic things.  Change the design of your soldiers, whether it's colour patterns or their actual design.  That, or you can start again with another base and a different faction.  Control several bases that perform different functions.  Something like that.

If I were able to code and do that art thing, this'd be a good project to work on.  But then, I have lots of projects of this kind I could work on.

30 September 2014

Destiny-ville

Do not adjust your television set.
Destiny has an equipment setup that mimics an old saying back home: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.  They've got a limited set of space, and you can disassemble it for materials to improve on other weapons.  It's a great system.
In turn, there'll always be someone who will take the time to find a way to maximise on that, collecting items and equipment, occasionally getting very special pieces of equipment, and repeating the process to their hearts content.
Introducing the Loot Cave.  You shoot into a dark cave from across the map and repeat until you run out of ammo or someone else runs into the cave.  Then you go in, pick up your engrams and refresh your ammo, and the repeat the entire process.  With the system Destiny has in place, you can essentially repeat this until you're filled out with Blue and Purple Uncoded Engrams (which would regularly turn into green engrams or other materials).
This is an oversight from the Bungie crew who should have picked up on this in the testing phase.  Because that shit is not in the spirit of gaming.  Sure, equipment can be hard to come by.  You could spend a week trying to fill in some slots with better gear, but you'll end up with everything but.  That's annoying, but it encourages you to keep playing different missions.  The downside to that is that there is a good chance you'll repeat it very quickly.
But I still admire the system.  Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.  And with the shared Vault, if you get something not for your main's class, you can fob it off to your alts.  That's just giggity.

24 September 2014

I have a new Hero. His name is Alec Freeman.

"I don't like it.  These clouds give as much
cover as a G-string on a Belly Dancer."
- Col. Alec E. Freeman
I was excited and shocked to see the Fantasy Flight Games, the veritable Big Boss of Board Games, had gotten the rights to make an XCOM Board Game.

Now I like XCOM. My friends got me into it and I regret nothing. I only wish I weren't so pretentious so I could stand the classic UI and play it for what it was meant to be, of which the latest game is a small inkling into the devastation that is and should be Extraterrestrial Combat.

That doesn't mean it isn't fun.  Although I'm disappointed my favourite level, Demolition, was replaced, it's still an incredibly fun and tense game.

But it's been almost a year.  I've grown tired and complacent with the game.  I can predict most of the enemy placements and how to counter them. I've tried different skill sets and achieved all but a couple of achievements in Xbox's Enemy Within, which annoyingly doesn't share with the first Iteration because of it's Stand Alone status, so I can't go back and get those achievements without having to get the old game again.

I'm trying again though, attempting to finish the game on Impossible with as many benefits I can attain, so that I can start again and do the Penultimate Hardcore Game: Classic Ironman with all Second Wave features (bar Save Scum).  It's going to be a pain in the arse.  But hopefully will tide me over until the next DLC comes out.  Which I hope acts as a proper DLC on consoles, rather than a Stand-Alone game again.

To help me in my Impossible efforts, I looked to a TV show that helped inspire the original game.  I looked up all details and luckily found it on Hulu.  A 1970's show called UFO.

My fucking dog this show is hilarious.  It's incredibly 70's, with girls in Catsuits and Navy agents in Fishnets, Split-flap displays on convoluted control desks, and incredulously corny lines with matching cinematography.  I know they make a vague reference to UFO in XCOM, a passive comment about Commander Straker being a nut ranting about shadow operatives, so I just had to watch it.  I do not regret it.

I swear if I get this board game I will need to play this in the background.  Otherwise, I want to see an XCOM mod that turns it into UFO.  It'd be Brilliant!

23 September 2014

RAID?!

I walked into the bathroom the other day and saw probably the hairiest bug I'd ever seen here.  Turns out it was a centipede, barely two inches long, just enjoying itself and waiting for food to toddle out.  I killed it and dropped it off at the pool with some kids, because other kids would have landed in a ditch if Jenny saw it.

But it put me in perspective of what the Raids are like.  If you were a Dungeon Master, looking down on the puny Guardians, blindly walking through the maze that is Destiny's Raid, it would be like watching ants searching for the other end.  Only with more gunfire.

That was what interested me about the raid though.  You get six players, from your friends list or your clan, and you all get thrown into this arena.  Then you figure it out as you go along.  Not solve how to plough through it, but figure out what to do in the friggin first place.  It's a maze that you throw yourself into, and you're on your own.  Abandoned.  Nothing but your friends to help search.

I'm not entirely sure of what goals there are to complete, whether there's a "defend this spot" or "kill this boss".  I'm actually trying my best to avoid spoilers about it so that when I have my moment of jumping in there, I can really enjoy it.

Though, I can only hope it doesn't take 8 hours.