Kingdom Come: Deliverance – The combat system is awful

I have a longer post brewing about Kingdom Come: Deliverance (KC:D), but I needed to get this out today because its infuriating, and also because we might all be quarantined from the Coronavirus by Monday (but don’t worry, Pence will just pray the virus away, so we are all good!)

The combat system in KC:D when fighting more than one opponent is so cripplingly bad it might ruin everything else about the game.

Let’s back up. The combat in KC:D is like a worse version of Mount and Blade when its one on one. You swing in certain directions, you block in those same directions, you have stamina and health, armor and weapons, there are combos, blablabla. It works, even if it never feels good.

The problem is that KC:D insists on being realistic even when that gets in the way of an enjoyable game, and while this is annoying in other parts of the game, it straight up doesn’t work in combat when fighting multiple opponents. For one, because the camera locks onto a target, you can’t accurately track multiple enemies, especially if they aren’t standing next to each other. The result is you spend much of combat fighting the camera just to have a chance of seeing when you need to block.

Then there is the issue with animation locking. If you swing a sword, you realistically can’t do anything during the animation period. If you get hit during an animation however, it stops and you take damage, unless it’s a block or dodge animation, in which case you dodge/block all of the attacks coming at you. It’s so ‘realistic’ it makes zero fucking sense. This also means that if you are fighting 3+ enemies, your window to successfully make an attack is tiny, as you are mostly focused on blocking/dodging the entire time. This is extra fun against stronger enemies who block/dodge most of your attacks.

Having stamina is key to combat, not only to have energy to block and attack, but because you take more health damage the lower your stamina gets. In one on one situations this is a fine mechanic, as you can control stamina by managing the pace of the fight. This mostly goes out the window when 2+ enemies are around, because you CAN’T control the pace. I’ve yet to win a combat that is 1v3+, and frankly don’t see how its possible without cheesing the game via geometry manipulation or archery fuckery.

Now maybe this is a case of me being really bad at the game, and good players can easily juggle 1v3 situations and enjoy it. Sure, maybe. But I doubt it, because not to toot my own horn, but I’m kinda good at videogames in general, so if I’m struggling here, good luck to the average chump that is Silver rank in LoL, or near the bottom of the dps chart in WoW.

Rant over.

Posted in Random, Rant | 4 Comments

WoW Classic – Ding 60

A few days ago I hit 60 on my human rogue, which officially closes the book on the leveling game of Classic for at least that character. It was, as expected, an enjoyable run and a reminder of what Blizzard once was. Also a reminder of what the MMO genre once was; a place you could invest a significant amount of time in, both solo and with others, and be rewarded not with the game ‘ending’ for you, but by a new phase that is both similar and different from what you just did.

The end-game of Classic is, of course, the same end-game that Vanilla had. You run 5 man dungeons to gear up, you raid to further gear up, and you PvP via Battlegrounds to also gear up. You can also continue to quest, and while you get more gold, you no longer gain XP and unlock new levels and skills.

Perhaps the most important factor is that at the cap, progression slows down, but does continue. The various 5 man dungeons contain a wide variety of upgrades for all classes, some of which remain the best option deep into raiding. Other drops might not be the best, but if you are still wearing greens or older blues, they are an upgrade. Once you progress more towards raiding, even on a raid where you didn’t gain a drop, your guild collected multiple. Assuming you and others stay with that guild, you are making progress. It’s slower, yes, but it happens, and that progression is what keeps people interested.

Now of course Classic is fast approaching its natural end-point. BWL was just released, leaving only AQ40 and Nax40 to go until the last and hardest content is out. Beyond that, Blizzard either has to move towards the Burning Crusade expansion, or into uncharted territory of creating original content. Back when Classic was freshly released I wanted original content, but seeing New Blizzard in action, be it Blitz Chung or WC3 Reforged, I’m now very confident the new content would be a disaster. At the same time, I can’t say I’m really looking forward to TBC. I never loved that expansion, and WoW nostalgia for me is firmly rooted in ONLY Vanilla.

But that is a problem for down the road. For now I’m enjoying life at 60. The 5 man dungeons (Strath, Scholo, DM, Black Rock Spire) are excellent, and raiding Molten Core is a giant wave of nostalgia. I want to see and farm Onyxia, BWL, and so on. The ride will come to an end, New Blizzard is who they are today, but not just yet.

Fun side story: First time back in MC, and we reach Baron Geddon, the boss that makes one member of the raid a bomb. First bomb target on the first pull was me, and I blew up the raid, as the bomb was placed at the same time as his first wave where melee needs to run back. Good times.

Posted in MMO design, Site update, World of Warcraft | 1 Comment

I’m going to be a very happy, very busy gamers shortly

So much happy gaming goodness coming my way shortly.

First up Battle Brothers is getting another expansion soon, and that will mean diving back into that game for at least a few playthroughs. Not all of the details have been released, but what the dev blogs have talked about so far all sounds excellent. Easy day 1 purchases that will immediately get heavy playtime.

Next up Rimworld is getting its first big update, patch 1.1. This will likely inspire another go at that game, but I’ll have to see if this results in a full-blown playthrough or playing ‘enough’ to stabilize and stop prior to finishing the game. Rimworld is one of those games I like the idea of a lot more than the game itself, as is evident by my playtime with it compared to other games. How much time you have played a game, especially one with intended high replayability, is a hard metric to argue against. There is a reason some games have 200+ hrs player on Steam for me, while others never get above 50.

Speaking of games I have a silly amount of hours played, Mount and Blade Bannerlord is coming to Steam Early Access in March. If that version has the single player campaign mode and is mostly feature complete (as the Steam page says it will), I might not play anything else for months. I mean, short of Bannerlord being completely unplayable, or playing nothing like Warband, I don’t see how I don’t love this game, considering Warband is in my top 5 all-time, and might actually be #1. And everything I have seen and read up to this point leads me to believe that Bannerlord is going to be an expanded/updated Warband, so yea, pretty pretty excited for that one.

I’m currently playing Kingdom Come: Deliverance (post on that coming at some point), and really want to finish it before Bannerlord hits, otherwise I might never get back to it.

Edit: I’m dumb, Rimworld has a full-blown expansion that was released today for $20 that looks awesome. I still want to finish Kingdom Come, but damn urge to play Rimworld just went way up.

Posted in Mount and Blade: Warband, Random | 3 Comments

Netflix Witcher, Way of Kings book, Parasite movie

Non-gaming blog post for today.

First, I finished watching The Witcher series on Netflix. Overall felt it was good to great, but watching it with someone who has not played the games, they were VERY confused. Hell I was confused for most of the second half thanks to some of the time jumps. Also a lot of the bits that I found fantastic, like the ‘quest’ in the first episode ending poorly for Geralt regardless of the choice he made, was very on-brand for the series, but if you haven’t played the games that whole nuance is missing. Also the ending to season one was just a big setup for season two, which is fine, but was somewhat anti-climactic.

Second, I also finished reading The Way of Kings, the first book in Brandon Sanderson’s Stormlight Archive series planned for ten books. I have held off on starting this series after getting traumatized by Wheel of Time taking forever to finish, including the death of the original author and the need for Sanderson to step in and finish it (which he did a great job of doing), especially since only three books have been released so far, but I caved and I’m happy I did. Way of Kings was great, and the 40% of the book was a rollercoaster I could not put down. It’s very rare for me to give up gaming or TV time for a book, but that is what happened here.

Like other Sanderson books, Way of Kings hit the right level of detail and pace, while featuring an interesting world and unique magic system. Very much worth a read if you enjoy fantasy books.

Finally, I saw Parasite yesterday and man, what a great movie. Good story, good commentary on wealth/social status without beating you over the head with it, and all-around solid acting. I can see why the movie has won as many awards as it has, they are well-deserved.

Posted in Random

Reason one million one why Steam gets my money

Downloading Pathfinder:Kingmaker (29gig) off Steam : 5 minutes

Downloading Kingdom Come: Deliverance (66gig) off Xbox Game Pass PC : I don’t know, will update this post in the morning when hopefully the download is done chugging along at the 2006 speed of 10mb/s.

Posted in Random, Rant, Steam Stuff | 3 Comments

CU and Crowfall – So many years and so little to show for it

I haven’t done a 2020 predictions post. I should, and most likely will ‘soon’. Today I want to talk about two games that have been a feature of said prediction posts for… 7 years? Crowfall and Camelot Unchained. Two Kickstarter MMOs that I backed, and that all these years later still aren’t released. Hell, they still aren’t CLOSE to being released.

TAGN has his latest post about getting a refund for CU, now that Mark Jacobs and company are working on a second game alongside the forever-delayed CU. I’d also ask for a refund, but I don’t care that much, and the principle of it isn’t that important to me now. Kickstarter is always a gamble. Sometimes you win (Pillars of Eternity), sometimes you lose (CU, Crowfall).

I’m at the point with both games that I just don’t care. I don’t care how they are developing, I don’t care about the details of what is happening, and I have pretty much given up on the idea that either game is going to be something I play. When they go into formal beta I might try them, but perhaps only if word-of-mouth is positive. Or I have nothing better to do. I certainly am no longer hyped for either, or have any hope of either game being something exciting or great like I once did.

Games that are in development this long typically don’t pan out, and the delays and broken promises are the result of ideas failing or things not coming together. Scope creep is no doubt a factor, but there is zero chance that is the only culprit here, or even the main one. Simply put if either Crowfall or CU had a really great core right now that was fun and functional, they would be out. They would be out and charging money and telling people that the other stuff is coming, and if that core was solid and fun people would be playing and happily looking forward to the future. But neither game has that after 7 years or whatever; the fun core of the game is missing, and that’s why the delays happen and things keep changing. And now after 7 years, do you really thing suddenly things will turn around and it all comes together into a game that is awesome? Again, not likely.

I can easily compare the story of these two games to other early access titles I’ve experienced. Some games, like Battle Brothers, release with only a complete core, but that core is awesome so it works. Then over time they expand and become even better, but it’s all built on that initial successful core. Other games, like say Castle Story, start with a core that feels off and doesn’t click, and even though more ‘stuff’ is added and tweaks are made, the game never comes together to be great, in large part because that ‘meh’ core is what everything else is built on.

I’ve played some Crowfall, and I’ve seen some CU. For both, the core is very much ‘meh’ right now, and odds aren’t great that things will truly turn around.

Posted in Camelot Unchained, Crowfall, Kickstarter, Rant | 1 Comment

Early impressions of Riot’s Legends of Runeterra

Riot released their online card game, Legends of Runeterra (LoR), last week. Since then I’ve played it a bit and have some thoughts. This is by no means a review.

First off, LoR in many ways is very similar to Hearthstone or Elder Scrolls Legends. It’s a ‘card’ game built online, unlike Magic which is still both online and physical. This means the pace of play and the cards themselves aren’t limited by what you can do physically, and Riot has taken full advantage of this, perhaps even more so then either HS or ESL. The big example of this are the champion cards, using of course champions from League of Legends; these cards can be promoted to a stronger version if you meet their requirements. Garen, for example, will promote after taking damage twice, while Ellise will promote if you start the turn with 3+ spider creatures. This is fun gameplay, and helps to theme your decks.

Graphics and UI are good but not great here. The game does not support Ultra Wide monitor settings, and its not hard to see that the overall feel is heavily designed for mobile rather than being native to PC. I do like the cards interacting with each other via voice, that is a nice touch and ties into the lore of LoL.

Right now I play a game or two daily, and have so far enjoyed it, though I’m not nearly as hooked as I was on Riot’s other new game, Team Fight Tactics (which I’ll get back into once I feel ‘done’ with Kenshi). It’s a good online card game with a fun theme, but nothing earthshattering.

Posted in League of Legends, Random