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

EVE: Goons are dead, but we have a savior!

The EVE-based entertainment continues!

First, a reminder that not only are Goons ‘dead’ and we don’t undock because of that horrid hellcamp of Saranen, but we are also very bad at EVE.

We are so bad in fact that we need help, and the only one who can truly save the most successful organization not just in EVE, but likely in all of MMO history, is the certified autistic lunatic, Gevlon. I’m sure as I write this Mittens is working to create a high level spot within the organization for him, and I can’t wait to have Gevlon ‘above me’ in the alliance. (Because yes, that’s EXACTLY how leadership works in the alliance, leaders are clearly ‘above’ the line members and remind them of that fact daily…)

Now you might be asking “SynCaine, didn’t Gevlon try to start Corps multiple times and fail horribly each time?” Yes, that did happen, but its hard to run a Corp (sorta, I mean I did it successfully, but shhh), even when you are literally offering to pay people ISK to play with you. You might also ask “SynCaine, didn’t Gevlon devote two years of his life, using a ton of accounts, and playing crazy amounts every day to destroy Goons?” He did! But like all things Gevlon, he utterly failed at that, because you can’t sit at the ISK big boys table with the bit of pocket change Gevlon accumulated over four years of hardcore playing focused only on making ISK (Gevlon spent 700b total on his little project, Lenny spend 1t+ weekly, just to give you an idea of how insignificant Gevlon really is when it came to ISK accumulation).

Ok, so maybe Gevlon isn’t exactly qualified to ‘save’ Goons, in some part because Goons are just fine, but also because out of everyone in EVE, I think he might literally be the least qualified. But that doesn’t mean Gevlon is useless to us. Oh far from it. TMC needs traffic, so you might as well farm Gevlon for some via a free post right? Especially one as unintentionally hilarious as the one he wrote. That’s a special talent that should be coddled and abused used whenever possible to entertain the masses.

As we Goons say, never stop posting Gevlon, never stop posting!

Posted in EVE Online | 1 Comment

EVE: We have a capital again

Lenny’s money runs out, PL ‘has to go train for the tourney’ that’s not for a few months, and suddenly Goons are back on the map. Imagine that. Hopefully that super-effective PvP group MoA doesn’t push us to the brink again, especially this guy.

Posted in EVE Online | 1 Comment