Look ahead to the Nvidia 1080 GTX

I’ve decided that I’m going to get an Nvidia 1080 GTX at some point ‘soon’. I don’t know when exactly, because I still haven’t decided which version of the card to get (feel free to offer advice here, I’m not exactly on the bleeding edge of tech news anymore), and because it seems most of them are sold out right now. Plus I’ve seen prices between $600-$900, and while I’m guessing there are reasons behind the price differences, what exactly they are, and if they are worth paying more, I again don’t know right now.

On the gaming side, knowing I’m in for a hardware upgrade puts a hold on playing games that run well, but not ‘perfect’ right now, so no more Total Warhammer, and no more Fallout 4. TW:W has the beastmen coming out soon, which I’ve already purchased, and starting a game with them can really happen at any time. For Fallout 4, I’d almost rather wait for the remaining DLC to come out before diving back in, so that works out well-enough. I am also curious to see what, if any, difference I see in EVE. EVE runs without a hitch 99.9% of the time, but in the few larger battles (with sound on), I’ve had my framerate actually dip. Maybe the 1080 will help, maybe not.

For now I’ll keep running my vault in Shelter, play a little Verminetide co-op, keep doing EVE things, and hopefully finish up Shadow of Mordor before the next shiny catches my eye.

Posted in EVE Online, Random | 11 Comments

I don’t even know what to call you anymore

Gaming terminology and descriptions have always been a little off. Remember when everything had “RPG elements”? Or when everything was an MMO? Or now when even MMOs aren’t called MMOs by publishers? I feel like right now, Early Access, alpha, beta, expansions, and patches all kinda mean similar things.

For example, right now a game called Stonehearth is technically in early access, and each update is called an alpha. But today it has more game to it than a lot of recent full releases, and its amazingly stable for an ‘alpha’. Yes, its not done, and more content is on the way, but if you bought it today I’d still say you got a game that is more than ready to be played fully.

Another example is Fallout Shelter, a mobile game I wrote about when it initially came out that has received a good number of updates, each one making the game significantly better. The big changes have come in the way of wasteland locations, which have a bit more gameplay to them and really show off the combat animations and brilliant Fallout IP style. That plus the new overseer mission system makes the whole game far more engaging.

If Shelter had been releases as an alpha and only called ‘done’ at the current version, would anything be different? If Stonehearth today was called ‘released’, and in a year was on version 1.6 ala Shelter, would anything be different?

We accept bugs in fully released games, even AAA titles like Fallout 4, so why do we need the ‘Early Access’ tag to let us know about potential bugs or missing features? Sure, at a certain level none of this matters, but it does make finding a game a little harder, especially if you are someone who wants to avoid a game until its ‘done’.

Posted in beta, Fallout 3, Patch Notes, Random

TimeWarp – Middle-Earth Shadow of Mordor

A 3rd Timewarp post? Incredible but true!

I picked up Middle-Earth Shadow of Mordor on the latest Steam sale, because $7.50 for a GotY title seemed like a smart move. I was right. SoM is very good, especially because it uses the Farcry formula (I think Farcry started this type of game anyway…) in terms of an open-ish world, reaching towers to unlock more of the map, and having lots of side quests and collectibles along with a main storyline. Here however instead of guns you use a sword and bow.

Oh and you can die without the game just pretending it didn’t happen and resetting, which is a very refreshing feature. When you die in SoM, whoever landed the killing blow on you gets more powerful, and remembers that they killed you (next time you face them they will mention it). Death also ties into the excellent boss system, where certain orcs get promoted and become special, and they can gain further power as time progresses (or they kill you of course).

That power growth mechanic is interesting, because with more power bosses gain additional traits, such as being immune to ranged attacks or combos. As the system is random, the difficulty can sway by a good amount. Best (worst?) example for me right now? I have a power 20 boss who is ranged, immune to melee and stealth, shoots explosive arrows, and heals whenever he hits you. Basically the only way to damage him is by shooting him, but since he can also shoot, and shoots explosive arrows, its hard for him not to land a hit, and when he does, he heals. Combine this with other random orcs being around, and I’ve yet to figure out a good way to get rid of him (he’s also power 20 because I’ve now died to him a few times).

But that kind of difficulty is fun, because I don’t HAVE to kill him to progress, and (hopefully) I’ll eventually gain enough power and upgrades to take him down, which will feel very good. He could also be involved in a power struggle event (two bosses fight each other), and that might open the door to killing him as well.

Everything else about the game is solid. It looks good, runs great, and the story is good-enough to keep you going. If you haven’t played this one yet, its a solid pickup.

Posted in Random, Review, Steam Stuff, Time Warp | 2 Comments

CoC, CR, BB open spots

Public Service Announcement time: The three mobiles games we here play (Clash of Clans, Clash Royale, Boom Beach) all have a couple of open spots. The group name is “Supreme Cream!” in all three games, and any accounts are welcome to join, just be sure to mention the blog so I know you aren’t some random. Don’t worry about being new to any of the games, we have an active community in each that will help you get rolling and contributing.

Posted in Boom Beach, Clash of Clans, Clash Royale, Inquisition Clan

CR: Tourneys are here, and need some fixing

Tourneys have finally come to Clash Royale, and they are… interesting. Like a lot of stuff about CR, the core is good and they are fun, but the surrounding details are both frustrating and perhaps ultimately flawed. Lets dig in.

The first issue is the price of hosting a tourney. The cheapest option is 500 gems ($5), which creates a 50 man tourney, and a top prize that is worth significantly less than if you spend that 500 gems on a chest (and that is of course assuming you come in first, if you don’t the prize is basically the smallest reward chest in the game). They scale up to 1000 players, which costs 250,000 gems, which if my math is correct, costs $1,700+ to host. That’s… a little much.

Joining any tourney is free, which brings us to problem #2; joining a tourney right now is refresh murder. Tourneys of all sizes (most are the 50 man) fill up in less than a second, and this is in the current state of the game where a new achievement for hosting a tourney gives you 500 gems, so in essence the first 50 man is ‘free’ to host. Once that one-time achievement dries up, the number of people looking to play a tourney vs the number of open spots is going to be even more comically disproportionate than it is right now.

The most frustrating thing about the whole situation is tourneys are a lot of fun to play in. The tourney cap on cards shifts the meta, you get to see all of the arenas again (its random what field you fight on), and seeing yourself climb or drop on the leaderboard is pretty cool. It’s actually almost TOO much fun, because of how the structure works.

Rather than a knockout system, tourneys currently operate on trophies, and you can play as many games as you can for the duration of the tourney. Even the shortest, 1hr, means a lot of CR games in a row, and taking a break during that hour pretty much makes getting first or even top 5 extremely unlikely. CR is a lot of fun, but dedicating a full hour to chain-playing matches is like putting a kid in a candy store and letting him to wild. It sounds awesome until you realize stuffing your face with candy has drawbacks.

The lack of a free tourney option also means when we run out in-house tourneys, they will cost someone money (until we run out of the ‘free’ ones anyway). That’s a drag, even if paying $5 for a monthly tourney isn’t a huge expense. What is more of a problem is when we do an in-house tourney, people in different time zones likely won’t be able to play, or will have to really more schedules around to make it. If the setup was a knockout style tourney, that would be far more doable over a day or two.

All of that said, I fully expect SuperCell to tweak the system, because as it stands today its a bit too flawed to be a ‘main’ feature like clan wars are in CoC.

Posted in Clash Royale

Kickstarter funding down in 2016 for videogames

This article about the overall money coming into Kickstarter videogames being down in 2016 makes me happy. Not because I dislike Kickstarter, the exact opposite actually, but because its an indicator that the average contributor is getting smarter, and that the vetting process for what gets money is becoming more difficult.

Without Kickstarter some of the best games in recent years don’t get released, or don’t come out in the form originally intended. At the same time, there have been WAY too many crap projects that hit their goal, and then either outright failed to deliver, or released and were terrible. Picking winners in videogames is hard, so I don’t expect Kickstarter to ever only produce awesome titles, but the better that ratio becomes, the more solid the platform is overall.

Posted in Kickstarter

EVE: My first major “I was there” moment

Let the record show: I now have not one, but four titan kills on my record. Killboard green for life!

The story behind this brawl is a good one too. Ever since Lenny’s money has stopped blowing, the MBC has been declining in activity around Saranen, with different groups giving different reasons for leaving or being less active. In turn, Goons have been doing what Goons have always historically done; fighting back once the enemy has grown tired/bored. We own Sov again, we are taking down enemy citadels and towers, and more fights than before are going our way, sometimes heavily.

The one big tool our enemies still had over us was Supercapitals (because all of ours are trapped…), which meant that when a fight got big-enough, usually the big toys came out to clear the field. Over the last week or so, we have been forming 200+ man fleets of battleships, which became very enticing for said supers. As this was happening, I (and others) got the feeling that it was only a matter of time before the almost predictable response of dropping supers would be countered.

Last night they got countered, and hard. (The battle report is a bit off, as Snuffed should be on the left, and PL, MC, and PH should be on the right)

The setup was well done on our end. Asher took us out in a fleet of battleships to hit another tower, and then called in a few dreadnoughts to assist. We had the dreads sit in siege mode, which meant they couldn’t warp off if trouble came. And trouble did come, resulting in all of us but the dreads warping away. We did this because a second force had caught the other incoming enemy fleet at the Okagaiken gate, which is where the big brawl happened.

Our fleet, done with baiting out the enemy, quickly took a titan bridge over to Okagaiken and began hitting the enemy. We had our smaller ships killing enemy fighters (drones from capital ships) while our BS and dreads focused down the four titans and some fax machines.

Wilhelm from TAGN was also in the fleet, and we were chatting as this was all unfolding. As we were warping into the battle, still unsure what we were heading into, I remarked that this felt like something special, and man was it. The rush when that first titan went down was very similar to a guild-first raid boss kill, and then as more titans died the feeling only grew.

I think the best part was the final titan, as our dread fleet had already warped off and that titan was catching reps, to the point that it went from being in structure to being all the way back to 100% armor. However Asher made a great call and we bumped the titan away from his friends and out of rep range, allowing us to get him down.

As Wilhelm said in chat, you play EVE for months, putting in your time in less glamour activities, for moments like the above. Epic events that stick with you, and remind you that the peaks in a game like EVE are absolutely the best in gaming.

Here is Wilhelm’s post about the fight, with lots of pictures and some links to videos.

Posted in EVE Online