The story of Fallout 4 incinerating Tobold

Seeing Tobold put his foot in a fire, and then vehemently deny that said foot is on fire has always been one of the better (only?) reasons to read his blog for a while now. The latest fire Tobold found to place his foot in was Fallout 4, and it’s been a dozy of a ride for the thin-skinned one.

First there was his failed attempt to organize a boycott for pre-ordering Fallout 4, because as Tobold said in earlish 2015, who would ever pre-order a game that won’t be released for two years. I sure hope that when 2017 comes around, Fallout 4 is worth the wait everyone!

Then, in ‘deny foot fire’ fashion, Tobold tries to justify his failed boycott post (Fallout 4 broke the record for day 1 activity on Steam) by pointing out that the user score (yes, the score that includes one-line 0/10 scores by internet randoms who are ‘protesting’ dialog changes) on metacritic for F4 isn’t that high, so he was right about that whole pre-order thing (note: he was 100% wrong, not just with the release date, but with the preorder ‘bonuses’ prediction a month before release). That caused Tobold to go from a man with a foot fire to setting himself completely ablaze just to show his foot is fine:

Show me *one* Game of the Year award that isn’t handed out by you, or some Fallout fansite website! – Inferno Tobold

Sadly I can’t show you one clownshoes, but I can show you 29+. Vegas odds are set at even that Tobold will call those 29+ sites all Fallout fanboy sites. Huffpost, who knew you were a dirty little wasteland fanboy!?

Fear not dear reader, just because he is now a smoldering corpse, that doesn’t mean the husk of Tobold is done denying the temperature around him has increased. Oh no no no.

This entire post is comedy gold (saying F4 sold because it’s a sequel when also talking about The Witcher THREE), but this line in particular is worth digging into:

I think the explanation is that Fallout 4 is only attractive to true fans of the series – Charred bones of Tobold

Keep in mind that Fallout 4 has outsold Witcher 3 by at least 2x on Steam, and my guess is console lemmings increase that gap even further. But sales aren’t the whole story. Look at the time played on Steam Spy for W3 vs F4. F4 is 10hr+ higher, despite being a far newer game without any DLC or major mods released yet. So more people have played F4 longer than W3, but Tobold will tell you with a straight (burned and skeletal) face F4 is only attractive to true fans. Corpses say the funniest things, don’t they?

Happy New Year buddy, never stop being you!

PS: I’d love to dig through W3 reviews and note how many reference only the Bloody Baron as an example of content but give it a high score, vs how many F4 reviews mention the reviewer playing for way more hours than they expected, and then giving it a lower score. Traditional thinking says opinions can’t be wrong, but I’m pretty sure this is proof that they can be. I know a lot of people ‘think’ they liked W3, and didn’t like F4, but if you are one of those people and have more hours played of F4 than W3, your opinion is wrong.

Posted in Fallout 3, Rant, The Witcher, Uncategorized | 22 Comments

The Witcher 3: Should I stop playing after finishing the Bloody Baron?

My momentum to keep playing W3 is fading fast, and what I’ve read/heard about the game beyond what I have seen so far isn’t helping.

The main issue is that every single reviewer that liked W3 talks about how amazing the Bloody Baron quest chain was. Almost no other quest or event is mentioned, it almost always Bloody Baron. And yes, Bloody Baron was a good story, if a bit dragged out and somewhat cliche (drunk and abusive army guy with a cheating wife). The actual gameplay of the big decision point leaving you 100% blind to the choice you are actually making was awful, especially because every other dialog option and quest solution during the chain was rather clear so you could, you know, actually make a choice or guide the narrative, but yes, overall Bloody Baron was good.

Is anything after remotely as good? Already I’ve skipping most of the minor side fluffy because you can only track so many footprints or scents to find a mob that will ultimately drop you nothing of value, and return to get paid a few worthless coins. Same goes for treasure hunts; I think every single one I’ve done so far hasn’t giving me anything that would be a worthwhile upgrade.

I’ve also heard the upcoming Dandelion search is a bore, and I already hate Dandelion the character from W1 and W2. Plus the final chapter of the whole game is a few chained boss fights?

Any reason to keep going here? How close am I to finishing things up (just found out that Trist is hiding), to at least get the checkmark of having beaten the game?

Posted in The Witcher, Uncategorized | 7 Comments

Witcher 3 is a great story, and a terrible game

I’m still making my way through The Witcher 3, so rather than a full review, consider this just some random observations from about 25 hours or so of the game.

First, W3 is worth playing. Let’s put that out on the table first so we are all on the same page. It has terrible flaws that keep it from being great, but its still a good game worth playing. In a nutshell, W3 is a great looking game in a great setting with great characters (voice acting and writing, for the most part) that is dragged down by the stuff that makes it am actual videogame. If W3 was a movie, even a slightly interactive one, it would be amazing.

Combat has regressed since W1. And not only has it regressed, but what was novel when W1 came out is now a bit tired in 2015. The system is basically mashing ‘left punch’ until your mouse breaks, but rather than a simple punch animation, the game sends Geralt spinning and swinging to create the illusion that you are doing something more than mashing one button. Consumables are more of a chore than a series of interesting decisions ala W1, and 99% of the time everything but ‘left punch’ can safely be ignored. Just keep mashing and you will get by just fine.

The series of maps you adventure on (W3 isn’t an open world like you see in Fallout or Skyrim) reminds me of all the worst parts of Guild Wars 2. There are ‘exploration points’, except rather than having to find them, they are marked on your map. Most towns have a listing of simple tasks, and these tasks, along with most of the marked locations, end up being simple ‘kill and loot’ pinata areas that get tiring and repetitive very quickly. And while the setting itself is great, so much of it’s detail is filler that you quickly become accustomed to running past most of it on your way to an objective.

Speaking of objectives, W3 also uses an MMO-like ‘mark on map, provide guiding line, hold button to get there’ system for quests. In most games this would be annoyingly dumbed down gameplay, but its even worst here because you are playing Geralt, a famous detective who has access to his Witcher sense. Why in a game that has so much ‘solve the mystery’ questing did someone implement a ‘hold your hand the entire way’ questing mechanic? It’s almost like the game system designers and the world/story team were separated the entire time, and had to just mash what they created at the very end, so often completely contradicting each other.

And of course, the game’s most glaring error and contradiction is the main story, which has Geralt ‘chasing’ after someone, only while ‘chasing’, he stops to solve every peasants request for a missing frying pan or lost merchant. It’s impossible to take The Wild Hunt seriously as a threat when after every encounter or plot update, you return to ‘fetch this’ or ‘kill that’ quests for another few hours. There have been games that pulled off the ‘time is running out’ mechanic beautifully (Majora’s Mask being one great example), or at least somewhat competently (Fallout 1); W3 does the opposite. It wants you to buy in on the chase, but then begs you to stop chasing and pick some flowers. It’s actually so comically bad that the game laughs at itself more than once about this. Again, I’m pretty sure someone wrote the story, went on vacation, and returned to find that the story had to fit this already created game, and just gave up and said ‘here you go, good luck’.

Finally, loot and crafting are a total mess ala release-version Diablo 3. Most loot you find is pure garbage, while occasionally you will find an item 10, 20, or even 30 levels above your character. It’s infuriatingly rare to find something that is a good upgrade right on the spot, which makes finding and looting all of those pre-marked locations on your map such a chore. And that’s just the usable gear; most loot and loot crates in W3 are crafting junk ala Fallout, only unlike F4, sorting and using said junk is a major pain, especially because you won’t actually need/want to use it during crafting. Much like the loot you find, the stuff the game allows you to craft is mostly garbage that you will completely ignore.

Its a tragedy that so many of the basic systems in W3 drag it down, because the stuff that it does well is very much worth seeing. It really feels like W3 was made for… simpler people, who can either look past major flaws, or just don’t notice them. People that think they are doing amazing stuff in combat when in reality they are just left-clicking away. People who get excited by a ‘purple drop’, when in reality said item is just purple-colored junk (and my god, does W3 have so many color-based ‘grades’ of stuff). People who consume stories in Twitter-sized samples, ignoring or forgetting that story A doesn’t make sense when put in context with story B.

It’s also the perfect ‘review bait’ game, because you if you only put in 5-10 hours before giving it a score, you likely won’t run into the many inconsistencies or broken systems that grind on you more and more as you go, and will just happily walk away being impressed by the pretty sights and sounds.

Posted in The Witcher | 9 Comments

Give (me) the gift of Steam cards

Shameless reminder/begging that if you want to throw some Steam cards my way, now would be a great time!

That is all.

Posted in Site update, Uncategorized

2016 MMO predictions

2015 was, FFXIV aside, basically a waste in the MMO space in terms of what was delivered. A bit of ‘wake up’ progress was made regarding F2P MMOs, but for the most part nothing new of significance arrived, though some seeds were planted via Kickstarter. I’m hopefully that in 2016, we will see at least a few of those seeds sprout into something worthwhile.

At the top of my list is Crowfall, and even though I don’t think we will see a full release in 2016, I do expect the game to get close, and for much of 2016 to be filled with game updates that move everything forward. What I have seen in alpha up to this point has been very encouraging, from the art style to the mechanics. There are still countless hurdles for Crowfall to get over, and plenty of opportunities for the game to get screwed by bad design decisions, but so far, I like what I see and have heard. My predictions is that as we move through 2016, the hype for Crowfall will grow significantly.

Second behind Crowfall is Camelot Unchained. I haven’t followed this one as closely as I have Crowfall (and I haven’t followed Crowfall all that much), but what I have seen looks solid, and Inquisition has picked this game as our next title to jump into. I do hope this is the title Mark and company redeem themselves with, and hopefully that redemption happens sometime in 2016. Prediction: The game launches and is worth playing for longer than a few months.

After those two titles things get a bit murky for me. I fully expect FFXIV to continue being as great as it is and see further growth, but a great themepark is still a themepark after all. WoW will continue to decline, but that one is an easy call now because Blizzard themselves have given up and accepted that WoW is now a spot to visit for a month when an expansion hits, rather than a home. Some F2P MMOs will shut down, but again, that’s basically a given. I do think the turn against F2P, if it hasn’t already happened with the majority, will happen in 2016. Welcome to the right side of history for those joining late.

And that’s basically it. The MMO space just doesn’t generate the type of news and hype as it once did, and while I still follow it closely, so much of what is happening is the same old same old. Let’s hope 2016 shakes things up, and gives not only the genre, but those following it a reason to be excited once more.

Posted in Camelot Unchained, Crowfall, Final Fantasy XIV, Inquisition Clan, MMO design, World of Warcraft | 1 Comment

Fallout 4: Lets talk endings

Stubborn has a post up about the ending to Fallout 4, and having just finished my second game, I figured now is a good time to talk about it here as well. Obvious major spoilers incoming.

Context: I beat the game twice, once siding with the Institute (killing the Railroad and Brotherhood), and the second time siding with the Minutemen and blowing up the Institute. The first game was basically a straight run through the main quest, finishing around level 25. The second was a more complete run, finishing at level 56.

What I find most interesting is that having seen both sides, I think the Institute are actually the good guys, and everyone else is either ignorant or outright bad. The methods the Institute has to use sometimes seem harsh or questionable, but remember we aren’t talking about current-day earth, we are talking about a world that blew itself up, so more drastic actions are needed. Now the Institute isn’t 100% innocent (the FEV section in particular stands out), but if the goal is to save humanity and get the world back on track, the Institute is by far the best bet.

The Brotherhood is back to form in Fallout 4 (the version we saw in Fallout 3, and to a lesser degree F:NV, aren’t really what the Brotherhood is about), meaning they are misguided tech hoarders who value acquiring shinies above everything else, including human life. As a faction, they don’t have ANY plan for saving the Commonwealth, because they don’t care about the Commonwealth or its people. They are here because they picked up the Institute signal and figured it would lead to some technology they could hoard.

The Railroad is interesting, but again ultimately misguided. They save Synths like the Railroad saved slaves back in the day in America, but Synths AREN’T humans, while slaves from Africa obviously were/are. The jokes about the Railroad, “They want to liberate ATM machines!”, are funny but also somewhat true. Model 1 Synths, the clearly robot-looking machines that don’t really have a personality or complex thinking, are on the list of things the Railroad wants to save. It’s a bit like PETA telling us not to kill a mosquito that is about to bite you; I’m all for not being cruel to a family dog or hunting animals to extinction, but you lose me when you tell me not to swat a fly. That’s basically the Railroad, and that’s just not a group I can get behind.

Finally, the Minutemen. In some ways the Minutemen are ‘you’, since you are the leader (who always has to report to Preston, but let’s ignore that part), but that means they are an inexperienced, often ineffective group that means well but really doesn’t have a ‘big picture’ plan. After you blow up the Institute with the Minutemen, there is no ‘next step’ for them other than continuing to save settlements from random raiders or mutants. Good acts, for sure, but not what is going to move the Commonwealth from a nearly lawless wasteland towards something better, and because of the war, humanity needs to move towards something better.

I think it’s very interesting that not only does F4 give you the option to pick a side in the main quest/conflict, but that the decision is so dramatic in terms of perspective and choice on a morality level. That’s pretty great.

Posted in Fallout 3, Uncategorized | 21 Comments

CoC: Season 2 performance writeup

Supreme Cream Performance – Season 2 (Text and stats by Delpez)

This season flew by – only two derpy clans and ten proper wars. I don’t know if the matchmaker is improving, but really bad mismatches are becoming far less common. Here’s a link to the final performance file for Season 2 (for best viewing you need to open it as an Excel file):

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B1TPRzXrSjCvNXR6T2RSZnNHX0k/view?usp=sharing

An explanation of the metrics again (from a previous post):

Wars: The number of wars a player participated in.

Attacked: Was the player attacked or not? This is a yes/no trigger (1 or 0).

Bleeds: How many times a player was attacked over and above the first. So if you are attacked three times in a war, you score two bleeds. This is an indication of how many attacks were wasted on your base.

Holds: How many stars did the player manage to hold onto – if your base was 2-starred at the end of a war you score one hold. If you were not attacked you don’t get any holds, but you’re also not penalized in the normalized numbers.

Overall Closer: The first player to score the highest number of stars against a base will get the closer stars for that base. For example, if player A scores a 2-star and later in the war player B scores a 3-star, B will get three closer stars and A none. However, if B also scored a 2-star, A will get two closer stars (he was first) and B none. Overall Closer just means that all attacks are considered, whether the player attacked up, down or sideways.

Overall All Stars: This just adds all the stars a player scored – doesn’t matter if it’s closer, up, down or sideways.

Overall 3 Stars: The total number of 3-stars achieved, irrespective of up, down or sideways.

>= Same Level Closer, All Stars and 3-stars: This tracks exactly the same metrics as before, but you don’t get credit for attacking down.

Attack Down: Tracks the number of times a player attacked bases below his TH level.

MIA: Missing in action – the number of attacks a player has missed.

These numbers are then normalized by using the attacked trigger (for defensive stats) and war participation (for offensive stats).

So let’s have a look at our best performers in each category for Season 2. Note that you had to participate in at least five wars to be considered.

DEFENSE: BLEEDS PER WAR

TH8 Bleeds

Caldazar 3.1
RogerRabbit 2.3
MattyC 2.2
Nate Werdy 2.1
Jenks 1.7
Redshirt 1.6
Ellroy 1.3
Alistair 1.2
Zelazny 1.1

These are all the TH8’s who achieved more than one bleed per war – in other words, are attacked at least twice per war. Caldazar is way ahead, showing that his performance from Season 1 was no fluke. It’s actually amazing how opponents struggle with his base – sometimes even TH9’s trying to clean up.

TH9 Bleeds

Kryss 0.9
Malcolm Renolds 0.7
Vorash 0.6
Lui Klea 0.6
SOBGrunt 0.5
Mikrakov 0.5

This list shows all the TH9’s with more than 0.5 bleeds per war. TH8’s score more bleeds than TH9’s, because TH8 bases are usually attacked until a 3-star is achieved, while TH9 bases are usually attacked only once (unless that attack was a failure). For that reason I disregarded players who leveled from TH8 to TH9 relatively late in the season – the difference in bleeds is large and it messes with the numbers.

Kryss retained his crown from Season 1, and he also outperformed the other TH9’s by a significant margin. Malcolm Renolds was also second in this category last time around.

DEFENSE: HOLDS PER WAR

TH8 Holds

Siouxsie.Q 0.63
RogerRabbit 0.60
Sunette29 0.60
Ellroy 0.50

These are the TH8’s with more than 0.5 holds per war (gets 2-starred every second war). RogerRabbit was replaced at the top by Siouxsie for Season 2. Interesting to note that the best TH8 Hold numbers are almost double from Season 1 – clans are leaving more stars behind against our TH8’s. Roger and Ellroy feature on both the Bleed and Hold lists, meaning they are attacked a lot and still manage to retain stars.

TH9 Holds

Kryss 1.0
Mikrakov 1.0
NatoGhost 1.0
JHO 1.0
Malcolm Renolds 0.9
Delpez13 0.9
Jonneh 0.9
Ranez 0.9

These are the players with 0.9 or more holds per war. Not only did Kryss win the Bleed category, he’s also joint winner of the Hold section. Malcolm Renolds and Mikrakov are the only others who feature on both the Hold and Bleed lists.

OFFENCE: TOTAL CLOSER STARS PER WAR

TH8 Total Closer

Zelazny 3.43
Caldazar 3.30
Ellroy 3.25
MattyC 3.00
RogerRabbit 2.70
Sunette29 2.70
Claud 2.70
Jon 2.50

These are the players with more than 2.5 Closer stars per war. Zelazny takes the crown from Caldazar this time around. These days we 3-star all our opponent’s TH8 bases, meaning that you basically have to get 3-stars to get closer stars. If you 2-star a base, someone else will just come along and 3-star it for the closer stars.

At TH9 players are separated by the newer bases (often TH8.5) and the veterans. I’ve found that the attacking down statistic is useful for separating the two groups – currently the cut-off is at 10% attacks against lower level bases.

Rookie TH9 Total Closer

Malcolm 3.9
Vorash 3.7
Sleepy_Sam 3.5
Lui Klea 3.3
Saate 2.9
Ranez 2.7

This shows newer TH9’s with more than 2.7 closer stars. If you do not follow the TH8.5 route you will most probably not feature in this group. In any case, well done Malcolm!

Veteran TH9 Total Closer

Delpez13 3.8
Kryss 3.6
Malcolm Renolds 3.3
Jonneh 3.3
JHO 3.0
Josch2k 2.9
Mikrakov 2.8

Players with more than 2.8 closer stars. Not only did Kryss dominate the TH9 defense numbers, he also ranks very high on offense – my vote for our TH9 MVP!

OFFENCE: STARS/ATTACK – SAME LEVEL BASES

TH8 Same Level Stars/Attack

Ellroy 2.31
Zelazny 2.29
Caldazar 2.28
Sunette29 2.25
RogerRabbit 2.15
Claud 2.11
Alistair 2.10
MattyC 2.06

The players with an average of more than 2 against TH8 bases. The same three players also topped the Closer table, but this time around Ellroy takes the honors. As was stated during Season 1, you should be able to average at least 2 stars against other TH8 bases, or TH9 will be really tough.

TH9 Same Level Stars/Attack

Vorash 2.10
Delpez13 2.10
Sleepy_Sam 2.07
Josch2k 2.06
Kryss 2.05
Jonneh 2.05

Players who average more than 2 stars against TH9 opponents – the list is growing: for season 1 there were only 4 names on it.

BENCHMARK:

A comparison of the important numbers between Seasons 1 and 2. First up the TH8’s:

TH8 Benchmark

Season 1 Season 2
Bleeds per War 1.54 1.37
Holds per War 0.24 0.33
Closer per War 2.15 2.33
Ave Stars against TH8 per Attack 1.80 1.90
Ave 3-stars against TH8 per Attack 0.32 0.37

From the bleeds and holds our TH8’s are attacked less in Season 2 than Season 1, but are holding onto more stars. This might just be a function of less TH8 bases as more players level to TH9. However, our TH8’s also performed better on offence – scoring more closer stars in general, as well as more stars and 3-stars against other TH8 bases. The 3-star number is particularly important, because 2-stars at TH8 is not worth much – someone else will clean up the base. From Season 1 to Season 2 we have improved from a 3-star every 3.1 attacks to one every 2.7 attacks.

The TH9 comparison with Season 1 looks as follows:

TH9 Benchmark

Season 1 Season 2
Bleeds per War 0.53 0.40
Holds per War 0.61 0.64
Closer per War 2.78 2.61
Ave Stars against TH9 per Attack 1.54 1.65
Ave 3-stars against TH9 per Attack 0.12 0.17

Also fewer bleeds and slightly more holds. Together with the TH8 stats it means that clans are scoring less stars against us. Closer stars per war is lower than Season 1, which is probably a result of the improvement in the TH8 offensive numbers – our TH9’s had to clean up less and thus scored less closer stars. There was a big improvement in both the average stars against TH9 bases, as well as the number of 3-stars scored against TH9 bases. The latter went from a 3-star every 8.3 attacks to one every 5.9 attacks.

It is important to note that although we did better offensively in Season 2, it does not necessarily mean that we are getting better. More wars are needed to conclude whether we are improving as a clan, although the trend is definitely in the right direction!

And that’s it for Season 2! Well done if your name appears on these lists. Please follow the link to compare your performance against the top players at your TH level, and let’s try and improve some more in Season 3.

Posted in Clash of Clans, Uncategorized | 5 Comments