Games I’m playing these days

November 4, 2014

Little roundup of what I’ve been playing recently, because this is info you need to know.

Clash of Clans: “Supreme Cream!” has hit 50 clan member, although a few are alts as we are holding two spots for former members taking a break. Wars have been interesting and really fun, though we haven’t had a real nail-bitter in a while. We got smashed by a clan with way more TH9s and 10s during a recent war, but otherwise we have been rolling everyone rather consistently. Good times. I’m at TH9 now working on upgrades, and really enjoying the added depth at this level. Very much looking forward to TH10, although that’s still a few months off at my current farming pace.

Payday 2: Started playing this little gem again recently and loving it. All of the new additions are great, and the devs (Overkill) do a really good job of mixing free content updates with new DLC releases. Currently my favorite loadout is a heavy with two shotguns, as the new weapon and ammo options give you more flexibility while still retaining that ‘shotgun’ feel.

Civ:BE : The more I play the more I’m thinking that this game would be a blast multiplayer, but I haven’t been able to line that up just yet. Coming off the wealth of options and systems in Civ V with all expansions/dlc, Civ:BE does feel a bit too limited to play single player over and over again. Still worth the cost to play a few rounds IMO.

Endless Legend: I’m enjoying this one more than I expected, but its on the back burner right now as I do run into some slowdown on larger maps, something I expect the new machine (Xmas gift) to solve. Another title I think would absolutely shine with a second player in the game.

LoL: Season 4 has just about come to an end, and I’ll finish it in platinum in the solo queue. Watching the world championships on a big screen TV in the living room with the wife thanks to a wireless bluray player was pretty great. Speaking of Aria, she is going to finish solo queue in Gold, meaning we both moved up a tier since Season 3. Doubt I’m going to hit diamond in season 5, but you never know.

FFXIV: Subbed but not playing due to time constraints. Expecting us to get back into this in a big way after Xmas when we have two machines capable of running it maxed out. Been somewhat keeping up with the news on this game, and the new additions of late sound good.

EVE: EVE Offline’ing my main. 40 day skills never felt so easy.


So dumbed down its just dumb

November 3, 2014

There is a good post and fun comments thread over at K&G about Blizzard’s upcoming League of Legend’s clone (get it), Heroes of the Storm.

Here is Keen’s basic statement of the game:

Heroes of the Storm is, essentially, a dumbed down version of other mobas at least where mechanics are concerned. There isn’t last hitting or denying. There are no items. Experience is shared across your entire team. Everything is super basic, but remarkably it works.

My initial reaction to reading this is “so what exactly do you do?”. Obviously you fight the other team, but the above sounds like an extremely simplified version of LoL’s ARAM game, which itself is already a really, really dumbed down version of LoL you fire up to kill some time, but if it was the main game, I’d have quit LoL years ago. Go even further and remove items from that equation and yikes, wtf are we even doing here?

But that’s not the real point here; the real question/speculation is how well will HotS ultimately do. LoL is, by a wide margin, the most popular game out right now (outside of Asia, because :Asia:), and DoTA2, while only being a 1/3rd of what LoL is, still ranks in the top 5. Blizzard being Blizzard clearly wants a piece of that pie and has fired up the cloning factory, but what slice are they aiming at is the current debate.

Blizzard cloned EQ1 to make WoW, they were taking a successful niche product and smoothing out the rough edges to make something that would appeal to more people, but the key here is they were starting with something that was complex and difficult to get into, with design flaws begging to be fixed. LoL is the WoW to DoTA1’s EQ1. A dumbed down WoW is Farmville, and once Zynga was forced to stop their shady/illegal practices, they went poof. HotS sounds like the Farmville of MOBAs, and that’s not a good thing IMO.

As I said over at K&G, Blizzard could get 10m+ free accounts out of people if they produced a grass growing simulator. But 10m active players is a blip on the LoL radar, especially if that 10m doesn’t stick around for years and years. A lot of LoL’s success is not only that Riot made DoTA1 easier to get into and fixed a lot of the core issues (no hyper-carry, very limited snowballing), but that they retained the depth and growth potential that kept people playing DoTA1 for so long. Combined with the best implementation of F2P going, along with top-tier talent that continues to improve, and the result is an industry juggernaut.

2014 Blizzard isn’t the Blizzard that made Diablo 2 or even vanilla WoW. 2014 Blizzard is the studio that released Cata/MoP and Diablo 3. To say they have lost some talent is a rather large understatement, and now they are going to compete not with SOE and EQ2 (lulz), but Riot/Valve and LoL/DOTA2. It will be interesting to see what ultimately becomes of HotS, but I’m betting the under.


Random: Did someone hack Comcast?

October 30, 2014

Just got off the phone with Comcast, and not only was I put into contact with a human in short order, the human spoke English, didn’t BS me for 30 minutes, and actually clearly explained current options. Then, when I selected the lower-priced option, he didn’t try to convince me that paying more would actually be better.

So… someone hacked Comcast and is rerouting all calls to a company not hell-bend on driving you to madness, right? So pleasantly confused right now.


Steam sales and wallet votes

October 10, 2014

Quick item: After watching Werit’s video about Endless Legend, the game has moved up from “might buy” to “kinda want it now!” status. But realistically I just don’t have the game time for it right now due to RL, ArcheAge, and the occasional LoL game, which makes it a perfect “wait for the Xmas Steam sale” candidate.

But is waiting for a Steam sale diminish the ‘wallet vote’ aspect of buying a game? It must, but by how much, and at what point is the amount enough to stop the future production of games we want made?


Patching, how does it work?

October 9, 2014

A few small items as we wait all day for Trion to apply a 150 mini-patch:

Inquisition is off to a good start in AA in terms of membership. We are averaging just under 10 people online most nights, and we will soon have people high enough to really get into larger group content. Just a reminder: we are on the Ollo server, East side factions. Come join us!

SteamWorld Dig was a fun 4-5 hours of gaming. When it goes on sale, picking it up won’t be a bad use of your gaming funds.

My Steam wishlist is getting pretty long, which makes looking forward to the yearly Xmas sale all that more exciting, though the prospect of actually digging into a lot of the games is a bit daunting, as most of them are in the “you need a solid 30-60 hours here” category. Plus the new Civ which is an easy “whelp, there goes 200 hours”.

RL has caused a pause in playing FFXIV, but the two accounts are still subbed because :wallet vote:. We will be returning however, most likely after xmas when things have settled down a bit more and we retire the now 6 year old Alienware machine that was struggling to run the game.

Only 4 spots currently remain open in our Clash of Clans… clan, Supreme Cream! Jump in now before that window closes.


Derek Smart is talking, and you won’t believe what he said THIS TIME!

September 25, 2014

(About the title, it’s a joke on the beyond stupid trend of trash websites using that style of headlines to draw hits.)

Just as we were all remembering the gift that is Derek Smart, out he comes once again to lighten up everyone’s day. This time? Because is latest abomination was released on Steam, Smart took it away, and now is mad that people are being mean to him and his game via reviews because he took said game away.

In his defense, isn’t him taking the game away from you a favor?


Can we close the book on ‘accessibility’ now?

September 18, 2014

File this as example 164,239 of “difficulty is good for everyone, faceroll is bad”: EVE Burner missions killing people make them enjoyable. This is pretty good timing too, given that Blizzard just confirmed example 164,238 (WotLK, the ‘accessible’ age, was when WoW started declining), and Tobold is here to provide example 164,240, where he had to stop face-rolling in Destiny (a ‘casual AAA game’ everyone) due to running into something with a challenge, and actually had to think up a way to get around it. Oh the horror.

Not that this is news to most. The most popular game out overall is based on scaling PvP difficulty (LoL), the most popular and profitable mobile game is based on scaling PvP difficulty (CoC), and the most popular gaming franchise (CoD) is based primarily around PvP of scaling difficulty (server selection). It’s almost like people are trying to tell devs something, and they are saying it with what counts (money rather than words).


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