Strangers and a mass grave

Two fun items from Rimworld that just happened.

Near my starting position there was a large sealed off chamber. When I dug one square away from the inner wall, a warning came up about an ancient evil possibly residing inside. As this was early, I didn’t dare break the inner wall just yet. Time passed, I gained more colonists, they gained better combat skills and gear, and eventually I felt it was time to see what the chamber contained.

I gathered everyone together, set them to combat, and had one person dig their way through the wall. As soon as that section of the wall was down, the chamber was revealed to contain multiple cryosleep caskets. It was a bit spooky, with the chamber made from all dark slate, and containing nothing but those caskets.

Re-positioning everyone for combat inside the chamber, I again had one colonist open the first casket. Soon as that happened, all of the caskets flew open. Each contained a human, along with multiple engineered beetles. The humans were in various states. Some were too injured to move, one was walking about aimlessly, and two were instantly aggressive. The aggressive ones were put down fairly quickly by my team, as we were all armed and healthy, while the enemies were recovering from cryosleep and unarmed. Still, they were well trained, and got in some hard punches before going down.

I took the remaining humans as prisoners, with the hope of convincing them to join my colony in time. This also meant tending to their various wounds, along with feeding them. I sealed off the chamber in fear of the beetles becoming aggressive or causing trouble. As time went on, the prisoners all recovered and joined the colony, while the beetles starved and died. Salvaging the caskets provided some nice materials, and the room itself made for a nice addition to the base.

While all of that was happening, a general problem of what to do with corpses came up. Initially I was digging graves for everyone, including enemies such as raider, because when colonists walk by a dead body out in the open, they don’t like it and get all sad and mopey. This was becoming unmanageable however, since graves don’t decay and the initial burial site was prime real-estate for expansion.

I dug up the graves that were in the way, but this resulted in the skeletons of the dead laying about, which again my colonists did not particularly like. As a solution, I created a special ‘stockpile’ area, inside an old ruin, that was to only be used for decaying corpses. I then blocked decaying corpses from all other stockpiles, dug up all the graves, and watches as my colonists, much to their initial horror, moved every last corpse into the new stockpile. I happily named the stockpile “Mass Grave”, and I now have a ruin full of bodies and skeletons in various states of decay. Sealing off all but one entrance ensured my colonists didn’t see the site as they walked by. Problem solved.

Posted in Random

Rimworld review (alpha 17)

Sorry for the lack of posting here of late, I had 2-3 posts in draft form and they just never came together. I’ll likely combine them into one “update on games I’m playing” post ‘soon’.

Anyway, today lets talk about Rimworld, a game I recently picked up and am very happy I did. Rimworld is a colony simulator game inspired by Dwarf Fortress, with a heavy dose of random events and interesting situations.

The first thing that REALLY jumped out to me was that Rimworld looks almost exactly like Prison Architect. So much so that I googled “Why does Rimworld look like Prison Architect” and got this, from back in 2013. It’s 2017 now and they still look similar, so I guess that’s not going to change. Which isn’t a bad thing exactly, the graphics look fun and get the job done, but still a bit odd.

Another aspect to come at you very quickly is that Rimworld is an Early Access title still in alpha, though that’s the 2017 definition of ‘alpha’, meaning the game fully works, has a ton of features, and isn’t full of bugs or crashes. Given that the above post is from 2013, and it’s 2017 today, you can see that Rimworld has been in development for a while, and there is still no release date. I’m personally fine with that, since as of right now Rimworld is more than good enough, but I know some really hate the EA tag regardless.

With those two things out of the way, here is why I’m really enjoying Rimworld over a game like Prison Architect; in PA there are random elements, but they don’t factor in enough to make you greatly alter your strategy. Once you have some of the basics figured out, PA becomes more about repeating what works to expand the jail, and that ‘mastery’ phase comes a little too quickly IMO (note: PA is still a fun game worth buying).

In RW, because the events are so random, and have such a huge impact, I’m finding that even once you have the basics down (food supply, decent shelter setup), there is still so much more going on, and many of the events are total game-changers. A quick example: I had a colonist who was my expert farmer and miner, but on his 41st birthday, we got a disease (happy birthday!). The disease started out as a minor annoyance that impacted his performance but could be managed with treatment, but later grew and got worse. I had him get surgery, but the surgery went terribly wrong, and he died.

Since I only had six colonists, losing one was a big deal. It was also a big deal to lose someone with his skills, because he was significantly faster at mining, and when he harvested crops he got higher results out of them, meaning more food per farming spot. The trickle down effect was a slower working colony, and one who’s food supply was now reduced. It also meant that people who would previously be busy doing research or expanding the colony now had to stop and do the mining/growing, which made reacting to new things that the colony needed a lot harder.

Shortly after that event, I had a positive event where two new people joined the colony. This was great overall, but unfortunately neither of them had the skills to replace the lost colonist, so while they brought different skills (one was an art expert), the whole colony’s balance was still off, and it was a big challenge to get it back into basic stability.

A cool feature in RW is that people can develop skills from doing those activities, so for instance even if someone starts as a bad cook, the more meals they make, the higher their skill will increase. This is further expanded in that each colonist has interests, such as a passion for mining, and if they do things they have a passion for, that skill improves faster. Naturally you want to assign people that have a passion to that activity, but passions don’t always align with starting skills. For example, I have someone who has a passion for crafting, but their skill in crafting is terrible low, so if they do craft, they produce low quality items, which is basically a waste of materials compared to allowing my high-skill crafter to do the job, even if they don’t have a passion for it. In the long-run, the passionate newbie would gain crafting skill faster (passions = faster skill gain and increased happiness), but in the short-term, the expert makes the stuff. If/when I have extra time and resources, maybe that newbie will get some practice.

Combat is also interesting, both because positioning is key between melee and ranged fighters, and because even when you win (don’t die), if you take a bad injury to a key person (and early on, basically everyone is kinda key), that might send your colony into rough times. Example: in a fight with some wild animals, my doctor got an injury to his hand. This was a problem for two reasons. One, he couldn’t treat himself for the injury very well, so a lesser-skilled colonist had to do it, which produced a less-than-excellent result (the doctor lost his hand). A one-handed doctor isn’t as effective, so now the colony had to work on a replacement for him, and he was now more of a drag on the community since he was such a slow worker and terrible fighter.

Not all injuries are as drastic, but even minor scars can add up, as characters with too many old injuries are in constant pain and so are less happy, and previously damaged limbs can have lingering performance impacts, such as a character with leg scars will walk slower. As the game progresses, if you don’t handle combat well, or just get in over your head with something, slowly your people become less effective, unhappy, and you might spiral into failure.

Overall, Rimworld has a lot of extra ‘stuff’ that happens almost daily in addition to the work you expect to get done (cooking, cleaning, building, gathering, hunting), and how you react to these events, and what the ultimate results are, is what keeps it so interesting. Things might be going terribly and suddenly a positive event happens and you get rolling again. Or you might be in a great spot and a plague hits, you lose half your food, and suddenly the whole colony has to react and recover. It’s a lot of fun, and while it can be punishing, so far it hasn’t felt outright unfair in a ‘gotcha, game over’ type of event.

Recommended to anyone who enjoys these types of games, especially as Rimworld is a better, more complete game than many others in the genre.

Posted in Kickstarter, Random, Review | 5 Comments

CoC: Yo dawg, we heard you liked CoC, so we put CoC in your CoC!

The big update to Clash of Clans is out, and its an interesting one. In short, you now have a second base to build that has new rules, including how attacking works. Its almost like SuperCell created a sequel to CoC, only they put the new game INSIDE the old game. Very strange, but it also makes sense in a lot of ways.

The new base is really a mix of all the lessons learned from Boom Beach, Clash of Clans, and Clash Royale. You have a single builder like in BB, and army camps function like boats in terms of having one type of troop per camp. The theme is still CoC, as are the graphics, though everything has a slightly different look. Attacking is now head to head like in CR, so you match up with someone, they attack your base and you attack theirs, whoever has the highest % wins. You can’t skip opponents/bases like you can in old CoC. You only lose trophies for a loss, not resources, and gaining resources from winning is capped. Once you win a certain number of times, you can’t gain more loot for that day, similar to how you can’t get more chests in CR until a spot opens up. Also the amount of loot you get per win is based on your trophies, rather than how much your opponent currently has.

Of course all timers can be skipped via spending gems, so this version of CoC has far more ‘opportunities’ to spend then the old one. Reddit is having a crying fit over this, but it will pass as nothing I’ve seen so far is too punishing; at most its similar to CR, and I think everyone playing CR at this point has accepted the pace and systems. The most jarring initially is the cap on loot from winning, because at the start you can attack back-to-back really fast, so you hit that cap very quickly. And since you are also upgrading fast, you run out of resources quickly early on. It feels bad initially, but again much like in CR, its more of a bad first impression than a real long-term problem. If we assume the attacking cap is 3 wins per day, that’s about as often as I attack in old CoC today, so really, not a huge change.

The only carryover from the new base to the old is that, once your new base hits a certain level, you have the option to change some of your old base defenses into the new style. The only item that is currently available in this format is the cannon; you can turn the current single cannon into a multi-cannon from the new base, which fires more shots in short order, and then has a longer reload. I can’t say yet if its outright better, or just different. I’m hoping the balance is such that its an option and better when used well, rather than outright better and an automatic upgrade when its available. We shall see.

Overall the update is good, though not as good as adding Boom Beach-style clan operations to CoC would have been IMO. More thoughts to come as I dig further into the new base and its playstyle.

Posted in Boom Beach, Clash of Clans, Clash Royale, Uncategorized | 2 Comments

EVE: Fun over ISK/hr

Having the super carrier to rat in has changed my perspective on a lot of things related to ISK, because when you have a tool that can fairly easily generate you 300m+ ISK an hour, most other ISK-making activities just can’t keep up. This then raises the question of whether I do something to make the most ISK/hr, or whether I do something because its both fun and generates ISK.

At the end of the day EVE is a game, and it’s something I occupy my fairly limited free time with. I don’t depend on EVE for real money (somehow The Mittani has yet to involve me in the very real, definitely happening RMT carter that is all of null-sec), and even if I did, nothing I could do in EVE would even come remotely close to my job in the real world in terms of money/hr. So while I like the idea of having more ISK, and earning it in efficient ways, there is a limit to how far I’m going to push that, and if an activity isn’t fun (like say, super carrier ratting for hours on end, each day, for months), I’m not going to do it.

I bring this up because right now, on my combat pilot, I have two primary ways of getting ISK. The first is with the super, and the second is running 10/10 escalations in a Rattlesnake. The 10/10s aren’t bad ISK by any means, but they aren’t as high as ratting in the super. I do them however because its a change of pace, and while ratting is reliable, there is still a small rush of excitement related to the 10/10 when the loot finally arrives and you see whether the site was worth 134m (the worst result) ISK or 500m+ (there are some very rare, very pricey drops).

Somewhat of a similar situation on my industry pilot. Right now I’m producing a lot of fairly common fittings, both tech 1 and tech 2, to sell in our local market. The ISK is good, and mostly passive, but I still have to update orders about once a day. I was recently chatting with some marketing folks, and they suggested moving out of fittings and into ship production, especially larger stuff like capitals. I know that’s the direction I will eventually go in, but right now that pilot needs to finish training to fly a FAX, plus my science slots aren’t open to research ship BPOs, which take a long time to get into decent shape.

As a stepping stone, I have purchased a few smaller ship BPOs, mostly to see how that market plays out and what the trends are. I’m also fairly certain the margins are decent, so that will become another steady income source when its ready.

Related to that, with my production output going up, I need more and more minerals, to the point that hauling them was becoming a burden. To fix this, I’m recently purchased a freighter, which is another nice little milestone in EVE. At about 1.1b in cost, its not a huge expense, but its something, and I now have access to the largest cargo ship class in EVE, which makes buying millions of trit or other miners much easier, even a few jumps out. It also makes hauling produces ships to market possible as well, which is pretty important.

Posted in EVE Online, Goons | 2 Comments

Investing in Pillars of Eternity 2 for fun and (hopefully) profit

Back in January I posted about the Pillars of Eternity 2 funding campaign on Fig, which ultimately ended up at 400% of its requested funding. Along with asking for money straight up, Fig also allows you to buy shares at $1,000 a pop. The more the game sells, the more you get in return, including hopefully more than the original amount you put in.

The time finally came to buy those shares, and I did just that. As I said in the original post, PoE2 just has to sell as well as PoE1 to make the investment worthwhile, and I’d be shocked if that wasn’t the case. But this is really less about the money (short of PoE2 being a blockbuster, the ROI here isn’t going to be anything amazing), and more about experiencing something new in gaming.

For the first time (well, second if you want to count the millions I made from pimping Darkfall back in the day), I’m not only rooting for a game to succeed because I like the genre and want to see more games like this, I’m now also rooting for it for personal gain, and (I think?) I’ll have a better view into how well the game actually sells and at what price points. That should be interesting and worth the upfront investment risk.

And yes, there is something comical about investing money to hopefully make money, while at the same time basically using money for entertainment (the sales data and the whole experience) around gaming, without the spending of money being on actually playing a game. Welcome to the future I guess!

Posted in Kickstarter, Random | 4 Comments

The Division, Grim Dawn, and mobile games

A random collection of thoughts about games, here goes.

The Division was free last weekend on Steam, and I played it for about an hour. It was… fine? Good graphics and setting, but I failed to really see the point of the game. I mean its not a pure FPS, and it’s not really an MMO, but I think it wanted to be a third-person sorta FPS with MMO-like features? Not my cup of tea either way.

I continue to play Grim Dawn, and I’m still really enjoying it. When the Diablo formula is done right, it really is entertaining, and Grim Dawn nails a lot of what works in that formula. In particular I like how what items you get somewhat shape the direction of your character, without completely changing how you play.

For example, my main character uses a 2h gun, with a heavy emphasis on fire damage. Naturally I look for +fire damage items, but for a bit I got a lot of +electricity and +chaos gear that was too good to pass up, and I was able to move some skill points around to work around that. From a gameplay perspective I was still throwing bombs and shooting stuff in the face, but from a power perspective moving those points around helped up my DPS, and I was able to do that again (in reverse) when I later found more +fire damage stuff.

In EVE I was part of a large battle a few days ago (can’t find a good battle report link, sadly) that was heavily in our favor against CO2/TEST/PL. The ping for the fleet came at a perfect time, but I didn’t have the required Mach battleship, and they were all sold on contracts. Luckily someone in the fleet was willing to loan me his while he switched to a Loki, and off we went.

The battle involved about 1000 people total, so Tidi wasn’t cripplingly bad, but was in effect just enough to make following the FC easier. We ended up butchering a lot of enemy Machs, T3Cs, and smaller stuff. This link is to my killboard, and you can see all the stuff I was in on on May 9th. Also of note, I’m approaching 1t worth of destruction, which is a nice little milestone.

Finally on the mobile gaming front, SuperCell has been hyping the next update to Clash of Clans as the games biggest yet, but they keep delaying revealing the details. There is a lot of speculation, and personally I’d love if the game got a version of Boom Beach’s operation, where the clan works together to take down tough NPC bases. Speaking of Boom Beach, our group (Supreme Cream!) in that is still up and running operations regularly, so if you play and want to join, go ahead and apply. Same goes for CoC, we still have a couple spots open. In CR we are always full, but I can open a spot up for a blog reader if needed.

Posted in Boom Beach, Clash of Clans, Clash Royale, EVE Online, Goons, PvP, Random, Uncategorized | 11 Comments

Wake up and sell some PLEX

Today is patch day in EVE, with one of the major items being the conversion of one old plex into 500 new plex. All market orders for the old plex were cancelled by CCP, so as soon as the server came up, new buy and sell orders had to be created. This, of course, lead to massive price swings and speculation.

Since I was up early for a work call, I got in just as the server came up, dumped most of my liquid ISK to my Jita alt, and started buying up new plex. In about an hour my funds were fully invested, and one hour after that I was able to sell all the new plex for a quick profit of a few billion.

Good times, and thanks to CCP Falcon for the tip on the Goon forums about all of this. Good guys win again. Now to RMT that ISK through the official Mittens RMT machine.

Posted in EVE Online | 2 Comments