Murder, nazis, and hentia for everyone!

Here is my toss on the burning fire that is blog posts about Valve changing its policy to allow any game that isn’t illegal or trolling on Steam, in which I argue its a good move that will likely have zero impact on you personally. TAGN has a post up that has links to other blog posts (lazy linking ftw).

First and foremost, I don’t want Steam deciding what is or is not appropriate content for me as it relates to videogames. If I feel like loading up a school shooter sim, or roleplay a nazi hunting down jews, or whatever else offends you, I should be able to do that. I won’t, personally, but I don’t care or get offended because Steam has that option for me. Far more offensive stuff, like shitty asset swap games or achievement collector ‘games’ already exits on Steam today, and yet life goes on. Videogames aren’t drugs or cigarettes, where actual real side effects exist and we do need to protect the young and/or dumb from themselves.

Second, anyone who thinks that suddenly THIS will make it too hard to find a game on Steam is missing a screw or three. Right now, before this change goes into effect, 40+ games are added EVERY SINGLE DAY to Steam. Currently Steam has 22000+ games, yet you think after this change THEN Steam is going to be overcrowded? El oh El.

And here’s the thing, good games make the news. Maybe not the front page of a major site, but if a game is good, it will get buzz. Maybe you have to read a great blog like this one to find out about a game like Battle Brothers, but it will happen. Plus not only will it happen, its not even that hard. If you want an RPG, do a quick search for “Best RPG of 2018”. How many rape simulators came up in your search? Zero (unless you’re personal search history is… questionable…). How many good RPGs did you find that you can now easily grab off Steam? A bunch right? Wtf is the problem with finding games again?

Overall its a good thing that Valve will no longer be wasting their time deciding what form of videogame sex is ‘too much’ to put on their platform, or if a game about murder is ok because the people being murdered ‘deserved it’ or whatever justification someone comes up with. It’s fine. All of it, really.

(And yes, of course this is likely to change in the future, but not because someone puts something on Steam that the majority agree is ‘too much’, but because some vocal minority gets a bunch of ‘likes’ on their protest page.)

Posted in Rant, Steam Stuff | 9 Comments

Paying full price for a reskin

I’ve been playing Total War: Warhammer 2 lately and really enjoying it. Funny enough, I actually pre-ordered it way back, but am only now finally getting around to playing it. At least it’s still $60 on Steam, so it’s not like I could have bought it today for half price or anything.

Speaking of cost though, TW:W2 is basically the first game, just with a reskin and a tweak to the main campaign (massive oversimplification). In the past it would qualify as an expansion, and not a full-priced title that itself has additional DLC you can buy. Outrage city right? Nope.

I’d gladly pay $60 today for Bethesda to release a reskin and tweak to Skyrim ala TW:W2. Here is another $60 for a Fallout 4 ‘reskin’ as well. Divinity Original Sin 2? Take my money. I could go on, and I’m sure many of you have your own personal list of games you’d pay to get more content for.

The point is that times have changed. Graphics aren’t evolving as quickly as they once did, so using the same engine for another game doesn’t instantly mean the graphics are outdated. And with how complex AAA titles are now in terms of coding, building on top of a solid base engine you have already fixed up is also a major gain.

Ultimately the market will let you know if your ‘reskin’ is worth a buy, and TW:W2 has sold very well, for which I’m happy about. I already know TW:W3 will be another ‘reskin’, and I’m already in line, cash in hand.

Posted in Random, Rant | 3 Comments

Snap reaction to Fallout 76 announcement

If its a full Fallout game, awesome, though West Virginia seems a bit odd for a location. Guess they can’t all be Boston though, now can they?

If its a spin-off titles using the Fallout IP, we’ll see. I could be up for a city builder of some sorta though, as others have suggested it might be. That said, if this spin-off is instead of a full Fallout or Elder Scrolls game, then that sucks.

Bethesda releasing a Fallout game now however is yet another reason to hate ESO. Give me a real Elder Scrolls game already, it’s been 7 freaking years since Skyrim!

Posted in Fallout 3, Mass Media, Rant, The Elder Scrolls Online | 9 Comments

Pillars of Eternity 2 review

I’ve now completed Pillars of Eternity 2, so its time for a quick review. Do note however that I somewhat rushed to the finish in the final stages of the game, and I know I missed a lot of content because of that. More on that later however.

As I mentioned previously, one of the things that stands out to me in PoE2 is the world building, and the fact that PoE2 adds layers to what was established in PoE1. I don’t want to spoil the main storyline, but it fits perfectly with PoE1, and is again a grand discovery that will help shape the storyline going forward into hopefully PoE3. I appreciate this because it truly feels like you are playing a sequel, rather than a standalone game in a series. In the videogame sense, you actions in Pillars matter, both in the first and now in the second, and that’s pretty cool. I also like how your character is central to the story, but not because of the cliché of being the worlds one and only savior (in fact, if at the beginning you insist you don’t want to help, the game will inform you another Watcher will be given your task, and the game ends, which I found pretty amusing.)

PoE2 is going to get a lot of comparisons to Divinity: Original Sin 2, both because the games are somewhat similar (RPGs in the spirit of Baldur’s Gate) and because they were released fairly close to each other. I liked both games, but for different reasons. D:OS2 has a more complex, and turn-based, combat system, while the one in PoE2 is real-time with pause and doesn’t have the complex elemental and structural interactions. Which one is ‘better’ is a matter of preference, because while D:OS2 will have more ‘wow’ moments, it can also be a bit more grating than PoE2, where simpler or smaller battles are quick and don’t tax you as much.

Graphically D:OS2 is the brighter game, and likely the technically prettier one. That said I really like the art style of PoE, and it all fits the world well. Speaking of that, PoE2 has a single large world, while D:OS2 has you complete chapters before moving to a new map/region. Both games are fully voiced, and I liked the acting in both. Story-wise I prefer PoE, though D:OS2 was much improved in that regard over its first game. Both titles ran well for me. Post-launch support was good for D:OS2 in terms of bug fixing, though it doesn’t have any expansions/dlc. PoE2 has expansion/dlc plans, just like PoE1 did.

Perhaps the highest praise I have for PoE2 is I’m excited to play it again. I’m going to hold off on that until all the dlc arrives, which is also why I intentionally didn’t do a ‘full clear’ this time around, but I will certainly return. I want to see the remaining content in the game, see how things change when you make different choices, and hopefully the DLC additions will also be worthwhile.

Highly recommended to anyone who is a fan of RPGs.

Posted in Kickstarter, Random, Review, Uncategorized

CR/CoC – Give me better guild tools already

Business trip this week to Europe, which means no PC gaming. It also means having to deal with the fact that the savages in Europe have not yet discovered toilet paper better than single-ply sandpaper. Seriously, how is it that a top-end hotel can have all the amenities you’d expect, and then still have a non-elongated toilet with ultra-cheap toilet paper? Head into a new, high-tech office building in a major city for a Fortune 50 company and guess what? Bleeding butthole time in the bathroom! Insanity.

That grip aside, the time away from the PC has put my focus more on mobile gaming, and while I overall love the addition of Clan Wars in Clash Royale, I do wish it was a little more feature-complete, especially for guild leadership. Why can’t I see an easy record of member performance in wars? Let me easily see how often someone wins a match please. Let me easily see how often someone was active in a war. Both data points are already in the game via the war log, but it’s painful to personally track it in a guild of 50, especially if you go back more than a few wars.

Games like Clash Royale and Clash of Clans aren’t purely casual mobile games. They can be played that way, and I’m sure millions do, but they also have a deep, interesting, and highly competitive top-end, one that is promoted by the developers via tourneys and invitational, so why don’t we also have the built-in tools to help manage the playstyle? There are external tools that do some of this legwork for you, though not fully, but given how huge and successful CR and CoC are, can’t we have this in-game already? Get on it SuperCell!

Posted in Clash of Clans, Clash Royale, Rant, Uncategorized | 5 Comments

Pillars of Eternity 2 initial thoughts

Not a full review of Pillars 2 yet, but some random observations from what I have seen so far.

I love the ship/island setting, which I thought I would not. Sailing around on a ship allows the world in PoE2 to feel more like an open world compared to PoE1 and moving around its map on pre-determined lines, but the sea setting means the devs didn’t have to spend years detailing a world ala Skyrim. Plus since you land on smaller island at designated anchor spots, you’re movement is still limited and not every important spot needs to be blocked by mountains or behind convenient rivers. It’s perhaps a small thing, but it helps a great deal in creating a more believable world.

Speaking of the setting, PoE2 pushes the world building and depth of culture far more than PoE1 did, and PoE1 was no slouch in that area. At first all of the slang terms in text/speech can seem a bit much, but it all ended up drawing me in and again making for a more believable world. The Elder Scrolls games today, following Skyrim, have really established Tamrial and its culture, and I think PoE2 does a similar job for Eora.

Going back to being on a ship, its basically another piece of gear you upgrade as you go. You can buy different ships, each having different layouts and slots for crew and cannons. You can also buy upgrades such as sails, anchors, and better hull armor. The ship to ship combat is likely the most ‘controversial’ part of the game, as its done via a ‘choose your own adventure’ style text rather than actual moving combat. It’s perhaps not ideal, but with how many games have horrible ship combat, taking a shortcut with text is fine by me, and you can still get some decent strategy out of it. Having one side of your ship equipped with long-range cannons, while the other has short-range, allows you to dictate engagement range, and once you disable the enemy ship’s sails and/or crew, you can stay in their blind spot range and fire away, which really helps in dealing with significantly stronger ships. For easier ships/crews, you can go right to boarding them and into in-game melee combat.

At about 30 hours into the game, the amount of content seems staggering. You have the main quest and the major side plots, there are companion quests, major story arks in seemingly every major city, bounties to hunt down, and then all the little quests/tasks that you come across. I’ve yet to experience a ‘bad’ quest, and a few have been especially great. Companions interact more with the world and quests as well compared to PoE1, which makes who you bring along more impactful. There interactions with each other have also been ramped up.

Perhaps the thing I’m happiest about right now with PoE2 is that its more of PoE1, and the new stuff fits in well rather than changing the core formula of what works. PoE1 was a newer Baldurs Gate, and that formula STILL works today, so why screw with it, right?

Posted in Random | 1 Comment

LiF MMO: Postmortem

The only thing more frustrating than playing a bad gaming is having a good game end early, and Life is Feudal MMO is just such a game.

I want to be very clear here, I really, really enjoyed LiF. I might still enjoy LiF in the future, as its technically in Early Access and plenty can change. Hell a ‘big’ patch containing who-knows-what is slated for later this month, maybe it will deliver (it won’t). The group we had in-game is/was great, we had zero drama, and we met some very cool people in other guilds, plus got to fight the Chinese in enjoyable PvP. All good, and well worth the hundreds of hours I put into it.

But what frustrates me about LiF is it suffers the same critical flaw far too many MMOs suffer; progression ends and everything falls apart shortly after. What I hate most is a lot of devs have this idea that once people are ‘done’ with progression, they will happily start doing something else in-game, even if that ‘something else’ has little to do with what the progression gameplay was.

In LiF you go from improving your character, expanding your crafting options, and building a guild city together, to PvP’ing for the sake of PvP. Think about that for one minute and realize how insane that plan is. Anyone who hasn’t quit in the first 30 minutes is someone who enjoys the progression and what it is, even if much of it is macroing or doing the same digging task for hours. Call us all crazy, but its what we enjoy. No one is so insane however to trudge through hours and hours of that JUST to get to the PvP. Those people have far better options, both in getting to the PvP faster, and in the PvP actually being better all around.

Yet here you have yet another MMO that has gameplay that a core group enjoys, but that runs out way too quickly, and the answer from the devs is to go do this totally different thing. Even crazier, their own view of what the game is and who it caters to is that they have a PvP-focused game, despite the fact that (guessing) 95% of all in-game activity ISN’T PvP. I’m not saying PvP should be removed from LiF, far from it, but the idea that the majority of LiF players are there to PvP is just so wrong.

Progression ending is also just such a dumb concept, both from a game-design perspective and financially. The financial model is not just to attract someone to buy your game, but to keep them, right? Yet your game design has a pretty definitive end. How the hell are you going to stay in business like that? Just so, so dumb, and so, so basic a flaw.

World of Warcraft also has this flaw, but Blizzard is big enough that they can just keep adding content on top and have people return. Your indie MMO ain’t that, so maybe try to think past the first 3 months? Is that really asking too much?

Plus there are simple fixes to LiF that would make this possible. Instead of a hard skill cap, have a soft cap system, where once you reach a certain number, every skill point after takes far longer to gain. Switching between alts to get things done around town is already annoying, just let me grind for a long, long time to have one character do a lot of things, and make one character being able to do everything take nearly forever, that’s fine. Another fix is rather than having a cap on material quality, again go soft-cap, but with items above 100 degrading faster and being unable to be fixed. You but a reasonable cap on power inflation, but you don’t put a hard stop to progression. Let us upgrade the quality of crafting stations slowly rather than having to tear them down and rebuild them, at again an ever-increasing cost-to-gains ratio.

So yes, for now LiF is on the back burner. Since you don’t have to sub, I’ll continue to pay the maintenance cost of our town, and will continue to follow the game, but we as a group simply don’t have anything to do right now, and as such have mostly stopped playing. It’s a shame, and hopefully future patches fix this, ideally permanently.

Posted in Inquisition Clan, Life is Feudal, Rant, Uncategorized | 9 Comments