ARK: Primitive+ time?

Quick friday note: ARK has released a new official mod called Primitive+, which limits the game to stone and below tiers, and also introduces new lower level tiers of building. It looks pretty interesting overall, and ARK has changed so much since I last played that its almost a new game. Might be time to spin it up again, especially once my 1080GTX is finally here.

PS: Ghost/Karrigan if you read this, ping me on Steam.

Posted in ARK, Uncategorized | 3 Comments

CR: Tourneys are awesome, if you can get in

Tournaments in Clash Royale are easily my favorite way to play the game, assuming of course I can bother to actually get in a tournament (more on that later). But they also highlight a flaw in the core game, and why its mechanics lead to the game being less fun than it should be.

The level cap in tournaments for cards (9/7/4/1) is low enough that mixing your deck up and trying new things isn’t a months-long grind, which is a big plus. In comparison, getting even a single common card from level 10 to 11 not only takes 800 copies of that card, but the upgrade itself costs 20k gold. That’s half a legendary in the shop, and if you are long-term planning, you know that you will max your commons and rares long before you even have a legendary halfway to the cap, so NOT buying a legendary in favor of upgrading a card is, technically speaking, a bad move.

Except if you don’t upgrade the cards you use, you’ll have a tougher time climbing up the ranks. Yes, over time your player skill will improve, so that will help, but card levels are also a factor, and at a certain rank you will simply play too many people with cards that outclass yours to progress. Even if you are 10% better than the other player, if your cards are 20% weaker, they will likely still beat you, and that becomes more and more the case the higher you go. I’m currently around 3200 on both accounts, and while I still do occasionally play someone who is HORRIBLE at the game and is at that level due to crazy-high cards (lvl 6 epics and such), it’s very very rare.

The other bonus in tournaments is that who you play is random. That means someone at 1500 trophies can play against someone at 4000, and both players will have equal cards. Now sure, that 1500 player is going to get CRUSHED, but that can actually be really helpful. Imagine if in League of Legends you, very rarely, got matched up against a pro in a game. They would destroy you, but you would learn so much from facing them that it would be a fast-track to improvement. That’s what tourney play can be in bad matchups. I’ve had a few games where the person I’m playing against runs circles around me (and keep in mind, I’m already near the top 1% in terms of ranking), and after watching the replay, I almost always come away with something to help me improve.

The other side of that coin is that crushing people quickly in matches is also a nice change of pace compare to grinding out a crown chest in ranked play. I’ve had crown chests take 20+ matches because game after game is either a 0-0 draw, or a 1-0 loss, so being able to play a bunch of tourney matches and just coast is a refreshing change of pace. This is especially true in longer tourneys where you face the same person multiple times, because now you know right away whether you are in for a tough match or this is going to be somewhat easy.

I also really like that tourneys have some meta complexity to them. For example, in a 100 person, 2 day tourney it’s not uncommon for the top 3-5 players to be way ahead of everyone else, which creates a lot of interesting situations. For one, playing someone way below you in standing means a win won’t give you a lot of trophies (sometimes as low as 3-5), while a loss will be brutal (40-50 trophies), and because you never know who you will face (someone might be low not because they aren’t good, but simply because they don’t play enough), sometimes NOT playing at certain times is the best bet while you wait for another top player to go into a match and get an upset loss.

Other times you will know that you can beat all but one of the top players, so you wait for the one guy who can beat you to be in a match before you queue up. Dirty? Maybe, but it’s also smart, especially if you are ahead and they are the ones who HAVE to play a game in order to catch up.

As mentioned at the top, the biggest issue with tourneys is getting into one. You basically have to spam trying to join, and hopefully after 10 minutes of hitting refresh and join, you get in. It’s a painfully bad process, and that could be easily fixed with a waiting list feature. Find a tourney, hit join, and if it’s full it places you in a waiting list. While on that list, you can’t try to join another tourney, and as soon as a spot opens, the first person on the waiting list gets in.

Waiting list or not, I do hope SuperCell does something, and soon, to make joining a smoother process, because tourneys make CR a hell of a lot more fun to play, and having such a tough time to take advantage of the best feature is brutal.


Posted in Clash Royale | 6 Comments

Vaults vaults vaults

I’ve been playing a surprising amount of Fallout Shelter on my PC. Playing a mobile game, especially one built around timers and playing in spurts on the PC is pretty interesting. On the one hand, there is still some waiting, and lots of stuff has timers in the hours if not days. On the other hand, because of all the updates, there is a LOT of stuff to do, so even though you are just clicking a few times here and there, you do keep busy. Plus the new mission locations look/feel much better on the PC IMO.

And right as I’m managing my vault in Shelter, out comes the vault DLC for Fallout 4. I was going to hold off on F4 until I got my new graphics card, but nope, here I go again playing it. Right now I’m going to do the Far Harbor content, as I have a level 15 character that has done a bit of the original content but still has lots to do. I originally loaded up a level 30 character that had completed most of the game, but at that power level and completeness I wasn’t really feeling pushing further, if that makes sense.

On the EVE Online front, the Goons are moving, but I made things easy for myself and just sold everything I had in Saranen besides one Interceptor, and am now waiting for our final staging system to be called. The only negative to that is I’m currently missing the ‘fun’ of the move Op, which currently includes an Incursion that needs to be cleared, but ah well. I am looking forward to working out of our new home in Delve, especially as the main combat ship is going to be the Proteus, and I’ve got the skills to fly it. Good times ahead I’m sure.

Posted in EVE Online, Fallout 3 | 1 Comment

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