Mordheim City of the Damned review

Little (huge) update: Since I ordered a 1080 GTX and everyone was telling me playing at 1900×1200 was poor people stuff, I also got a Dell UltraSharp U3415W. Now you might be thinking “Syn do you really need a resolution of 3440×1440 and a curved screen to play games on?” and the answer to that is of course I do. My wife tell me the setup in the office now looks like NASA, which I took as a major compliment and confirmation that the correct choices were made (also really helpful that the monitor was 40% off on Amazon).

As I previously mentioned, I tried out and subsequently bought Mordheim: City of the Damned (plus DLC) over the weekend. Amazingly even on my old 790GTX the game runs really well maxed out at 3440×1440, and it also uses the extra screen space well. At 1900×1200 a lot of the unit stats and extra info could be cycled through on the side but was normally not displayed, while at the larger resolution it automatically sits on the sides of the screen, which is pretty awesome.

Mordheim is one of those games where its a lot less fun in the first 2-3 hours than it will be after, so you have to prepare yourself or just not bother. There are solid tutorials, and a lot of them, but even after those the game still has a steep learning curve in terms of the rules and how things generally work, plus the added complexity/difficulty of navigating the maps with your units the first time around. You will feel lost and frustrated trying to find things, as you will assume an item is on the second floor of a building, only to discover that its actually on the third and there are no stairs up near your unit. Adding to all of this is the game only has one ‘mode’, which is that it saves everything all the time and you can’t reload/undo (think Ironman mode in XCOM).

Now with all of that said, I still think you should press on if you enjoy games like XCOM or other deeper TBS titles. The basics of the game is that you have a warband (squad), and each unit has different classes, stats, abilities, and equipment. You deploy your warband on missions (most somewhat randomly generated, with some unique campaign/story missions), and during a mission they face off against another warband. Currently the game has five different warbands (the 5th, Witchhunters, are DLC), and each plays very differently.

After each mission you get XP not only for your units, but also for your warband as a whole, and XP towards your account (called veteran ranks). Units can have stats assigned as they improve, along with skills. Warbands gain more unit slots and different unit types as they level up. Your account levels can give you out-of-combat boosts like cheaper troop purchases or more gold from selling gear.

Combat is turn based, but movement isn’t on a grid. Instead, each unit has a movement range determined by blue dots. The more dots, the further you can move, and each time you go a certain distance, a dot is used. Things like climbing up or jumping across a gap also consume blue dots. And unless you hit a trap or trigger an enemy action, you can undo normal movement, which is really nice because the maps are tricky until you learn them.

Red dots are for combat, and work in a similar way. Different weapons and abilities have different dot costs, and maximizing the use of each is critical. Since units can gain more dots as they level up, or lose dots from injuries or debuffs, switching tactics is important, and gives the game some nice added depth.

I’ve mostly played the single player campaigns so far, but you can also do multiplayer matches, either in “nothing counts” mode, or as a regular mission where XP, items, and injuries all carry over. All warbands have a rating based on their total value (very similar to team ranking in BloodBowl), so in multi you will be able to tell if you are facing someone more advanced or not. This also applies to single player, as missions come in normal (same value) hard (slightly higher) and deadly (much higher) varieties. The AI isn’t awesome, but its not super-terrible either, and will generally give you a decent fight thanks to usually being stronger. Most single-player missions take between 30-45min. Multiplayer is longer, and depends on how quickly each player plays.

If you do decide to pick the game up, ping me on Steam if you want to do a little multiplayer.

Posted in Random, Review, Site update | 2 Comments

You might want to buy Mordheim now

More on this tomorrow, but Steam has Mordheim: City of the Damned on sale right now (it was also free this weekend). Its a turn-based team strategy game, kinda like Bloodbowl without the football, but doesn’t feel like your normal ‘move around a grid’ TBS game. I’ve only played the single-player campaign, but it also has 1v1 multiplayer.

Like I said, more on it tomorrow, but before the sale runs out, consider picking it up. It’s $17 well spent IMO.

Posted in Random, Steam Stuff | 2 Comments

ARK, FO4, TW:W, EVE, and CoC updates

Gaming update time. Basically I’m kinda hovering in most games as I wait for the 1080 GTX to arrive, which will hopefully be this week.

I started playing ARK again with the old crew I played with almost a year ago. We are on official server 351 (original map and rules), and they are the dominant tribe. My one-man tribe is allied to them, and currently I’m just leveling up via drug production.

My goal, once my character is up around level 60ish or so, is to build out a solo base and just mess around with some of the new stuff the game has added in the year since I played. I really don’t have grand dreams of taming a ton of dinos as I simply don’t have the time for it, both to do the actual taming and also the upkeep. Still, ARK is a fun game when played with a group, and there seems to be plenty of new content to explore.

In Fallout 4 I’ve completed both the Automatron DLC as well as the main quest in the Vault-tec DLC. Automatron had a surprisingly fun quest line, while the Vault-tec one is pretty short (especially considering what COULD have been done around building a vault and experiments, but ah well). Building the actual vault itself is both fun and frustrating. Its fun because the space you are given is pretty massive, and the new building pieces work better than most settlement items. Its also frustrating because at the end of the day, you are still using the base building tool that came with the game, and its not the most user-friendly item around.

The other issue is that, much like settlement building originally, building your vault is ‘pointless’ other than to build it. Its almost sad that the vault in Fallout Shelter has more purpose than the vault you build as DLC in Fallout 4. The DLC could have easily added new events, new progression, and new radiant quests that come up based on the size and function of your vault.

I have but haven’t played the Beastman DLC for Warhammer, but I’m excited to play the new mini-campaign, as well as beating the game in the grand campaign as the beastmen. Again though, want that 1080 GTX so I can set the game to ultra and not worry about late-game slowdown.

In EVE I got another ship down to our staging system, but seem to miss fleets as they go out. At least I finally set that station as my home base, so when I finally do get going, I’ll come back to life in the right place.

Finally, in CoC my main account is one Barbarian King level away from starting the TH10 upgrade (he will hit 25, but I’ve decided to go TH10 rather than finish his last 5 levels, as I have everything but some walls all done, and I know there is a ton of research to get done at TH10). I’m excited, as its been many months since I’ve gone up a TH level on either account, and it will be good to go to war with both a TH10 and a TH9 account.

Posted in ARK, Clash of Clans, EVE Online, Fallout 3, Goons, Random, Site update | 3 Comments

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