Games that are never finished, until they actually are

Two items that occurred recently that have me questioning the current state of gaming a bit. The first is the upcoming update for Battle Brothers (BB), which sounds freaking awesome (and I think will mark the end of Early Access for the game). The second is the news that the devs behind Mordheim are working on a Necromunda game (yay!), which means no more updates for Mordheim (boo!).

On the one hand, I have a game I really like in BB, that I know is going to get significantly better next update. I also know that won’t be the last update, and considering the full evolution of the game to this point, I could see BB getting additional updates for a long time. That’s awesome, and makes me invested in the game beyond just liking it right now.

The flip side of that is Mordheim, which I also greatly enjoy but now feel a bit down on because I know nothing else is coming. I was hoping for more warbands, more maps, and/or additions to the number of weapons/armor in the game. If you buy it right now the game has a lot of content, and is ‘done’, but man it also still has so much room for additional content. Content I’d easily pay DLC-money for but now won’t even get the chance.

The reason I’m a bit conflicted right now is I think both my expectations around BB and the disappointment in Mordheim are fairly new developments in terms of gamer thinking. ‘Back in the day’, when I finished a game I enjoyed, I was happy and that was it. If I bought a game and it wasn’t great, I moved on, and again that was it. Today it feels like almost all games are in this constant state of change. Civ VI came out as a ‘full’ game, but right now I know its going to get expansions and patches that will make it better, so the fact I don’t really like it right now isn’t all that upsetting, even though I paid full price. That should be weird, but right now for me it’s normal.

I know this has been pretty common in the MMO space since day one, and I also know that non-MMO gaming has in parts been shifting towards MMO stuff like updates and having online bits, but it all seems to be creeping more and more towards games never being done, and then a sense of disappointment when they actually are done. It all feels very strange.

Posted in Random, Steam Stuff | 5 Comments

The fall of life

Everyone rejoice, despite Gevlon’s claims, he is still playing LoL (I know, shocker that what Gevlon says doesn’t align with what he does. Wonder how much ISK he is back up to now huh?) But since his alternative facts ‘proved’ that LoL is rigged, I’m sure he is just casually messing around now right? Behold and despair/laugh:

no-life-1

But did he make his girlfriend proud?

Yes, he played 18 games (two were cut from the image) in one 24 hour period. For those who don’t play LoL, every game takes about 1hr after you account for queue times (longer for Gevlon’s toxic-flagged account), champ select, and then the actual game itself. So out of the 24 hours in a day, Gevlon was rage-playing LoL for 18+ of them, and this after convincing himself Riot is out to get him and the game is unfair. You can’t kill that which has no life!

(Also if anyone was still wondering how someone after 4 years can get about 1t ISK hauling skill books and station trading, imagine that person doing that across a dozen accounts for 18+ hours each day, and there ya go. So impressive it sounds like a bot could do it!).

But hey, after only playing a game for 1000+ hours, Gevlon has finally made it out of the tutorial (Silver) in ranked. Huge congrats on that, it really is impressive. I mean look, he said it himself, he is now in the top 25% in a game with about a hundred million players. 75 morons and slackers below mighty Gevlon in the most popular game out, of which for sure 0% have bought a skin to further ‘prove’ just how rigged LoL is. And now there are only 25m or so people better at LoL than Gevlon, and I’m totally sure those 25m certainly played the game more than 1000+ hours in a few months. I mean, I’m not one of them, and none of the accounts around my ranking are either, and Gevlon has double+ the games played of anyone in his league, but I’m ‘sure’ most everyone else in a sample of 25m people is most certainly playing the game as ultra-hardcore as Gevlon. How else could you explain such a ‘high’ ranking as Gold in such a terribly rigged, P2W game as LoL?

mommy-whats-skill-mean

Warding + map awareness = beating the rigging?

Oh look Gevlon has the answer, you just have to play better to climb. Is… is that how rigging works? Because that sounds pretty awesome. Does anyone else know any ‘rigged’ games where if you improve by playing, you progress? I think there might be a niche market for such an offering, especially if it allowed even those with an extremely slow learning rate to continue playing for thousands of hours. Such a game sounds neat.

LoL is in fact so ‘rigged’, that even someone who doesn’t understand WHAT SKILL EVEN MEANS can improve! (shhh, don’t tell Gevlon, but map awareness and warding are a huge part of that at lower rankings where everyone (minus special snowflakes) are still learning the basics.)

Finally, I do like Gevlon bringing up damage as if that’s the be-all end-all in LoL, especially when he plays a jungle champion with only an ult as an AoE. Maybe he should come up with some kind of brilliant Killboard-like analysis of that. I’m sure it would be tackle-titan levels of helpful and meaningful to everyone.

Please, please keep playing Gevlon. You are truly doing gods work here.

Posted in Blogroll, League of Legends | 13 Comments

Pillars of Eternity II – It’s fig time

PoE 2 is already funded, which took all of 22 hours. It’s almost like if you make a great game (PoE1), follow it up with another great game (Tyranny), people will have some faith in you creating something great yet again. Weird how that works.

This time around the platform isn’t Kickstarter, but rather Fig. You can pledge money directly much like before on Kickstarter in various tiers, but on Fig you can also buy shares in the game itself, and the better the game sells, the higher your potential return. Shares are $1000 each, and the estimated break-even point for PoE2 is actually fewer copies sold than PoE1, so assuming PoE2 isn’t a disaster (and judging by what has already been shown, it won’t be), this seems like easy money.

At the very very worst, the return will be near zero, as I can’t imagine the game selling half or less than PoE1. At best? Well doubling your investment would require PoE2 selling a bit more than PoE1 at the same average box price, which I think is doable, based on the fact that PoE1 and Tyranny both built the player following up, and that means more people should be eager to get in on day one or around that time (full box price). Plus there is always the chance the game is a smash hit, which isn’t unheard of for sequels (Witcher 3, Mount and Blade: Warband, Civ VI, etc etc).

Lots of money or not, I’m just happy that PoE is coming back, and potentially as soon as Q1 2018.

Posted in Kickstarter, Random

Gevlon and LoL – The alternative facts are finally here

Irredeemable moron strikes again!

Let’s get this out of the way right now; if you take the advice of someone who played almost 1000 ranked games of LoL and only moved up a single beginner rank (Silver 3 to Silver 2), you’re an idiot. There are no ‘alternative facts’ to this; if that is the person you go to for useful advice, you are beyond hope and likely to see as much ‘success’ as Gevlon himself experienced. That said, much like with EVE, most of Gevlon’s traffic is from people like me, who enjoy the unintentional comedy he provides rather than take anything the insane one says seriously. In that regard, the linked post is a masterpiece.

Also before we dive into the madness, let me set a baseline for you. My own account started in Silver 3 this season (3-7 in placement matches, good times), and is currently in Gold 1 (I’ve finished in various levels of plat the last 3 seasons), and that’s with a fraction of the games played compared to poor Gevlon. I went through silver extremely fast (20 games?), and lower gold also went quickly. I haven’t purchased a skin in months (long before this season started), and I’ve never bought a champion with Riot points. I also know one of the top devs at Riot via Inq, who a few years back now gave us some additional insight into the game and the business behind it. I’ve shared some of that in previous LoL posts + comments, but it was mostly around what people buy (skins) vs what they don’t (champs).

Another baseline is my wife’s account, which is currently in Silver V, and has recently made skin purchases. Her account was in gold, and has been as high as plat, but with far more limited playtime, she hasn’t been able to get back up to those levels. I toyed with the idea of player her account with just Warwick to get it higher than Gevlon (would likely take me 20ish games, if not fewer, since jungle is currently the most powerful role in LoL), but never got around to that, which I now kinda regret.

In short: everything that Gevlon has stated about game rigging, about boosting buyers and keeping free players down is in reverse across those two accounts. There is also a reason Gevlon didn’t buy a skin for WW to further his ‘test’; because by doing so he still wouldn’t move up in rank, and all his tinfoil nonsense would collapse on itself and he would be left facing reality; he’s a terribly, terribly slow learner who can’t accept responsibility for his own shortcomings (his goal was top 10% in LoL, which is around Gold 3), and due to being a thin-skinned closet-social who can’t help himself via his blog, he comes up with wild nonsense to try and explain away said failures. His EVE page is another good example of this behavior pattern, only that failure hurt him far more as he had invested 4 years vs just a thousand+ hours in LoL, hence all his additional post-quit rage posts about Lenny.

Baseline established, let’s dig into the post itself.

“I played only one champion, the undertuned and no-skill Warwick to exclude personal skill from the research and to stay in “average player range” (according to op.gg Siver 4 players are around the median of ranked).”

First lie: Gevlon’s original goal was to reach the top 10%, yet here he is saying he now wanted to stay in the ‘average player range’, even though just a few days before that he was claiming he was going to climb even beyond gold with his ‘exploit mode’ (this was the result of a very normal win streak he went on, which happens to everyone who plays LoL).

Also Warwick is an easy champion to play, but to say he is ‘no skill’ is also a lie. Gevlon’s own match history shows this, as multiple times he refined his summoner spells, masteries, and items as he learned the champ and the game better (just very slowly). A more capable learned would have had gone through this at a much faster rate, and would have benefited sooner, but the point remains that even with an easy-to-learn champ like WW, there is plenty of room for growth in LoL, and when you don’t grow, or grow very slowly, that will reflect in your ranking. Gevlon not advancing much confirms this nicely and shows that the system is working as intended.

Gevlon then mentions ELO Hell, and he makes the common uneducated mistake most new or unaware players who don’t understand the system make and assumes it’s a set range. I have explained ELO Hell in this post, so if you are curious how it actually works (or want non-moron advice on moving up in rank), give that a read. Again his account is proof that the system is working, as his understanding of the game was so slow, he simply didn’t advance to progress much beyond his own personal ELO Hell.

It’s also worth mentioning that since he got his account flagged early on as toxic (frequent queue dodger that wasted 9 other peoples time), he was being placed into games with other toxic accounts more frequently than the average player. This is a feature that Riot added to the game years ago, and once again, is working as intended. Toxic players like Gevlon who don’t mind wasting their own time queue dodging 3/4th of every game should be put with other morons so they don’t waste the time of normal players.

His classification of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ players is also meaningless, both because he has no way of knowing who recently made a purchase (remember most purchases are skins, not champs, and he didn’t track which players showed a skin on a champ in his game, which is something you can do even just off the loading screen), and also because someone playing a champ often or not isn’t a great indicator of ability. Case in point: Gevlon should be a world-class WW player with the amount of games he has with him in such a short amount of time, yet he is almost always the weak link on the team at just the midway point of Silver.

The majority of players, once a new season has settled, are in their correct location, with movement being fast or slow based on player skill and learning rate. Smurfs happen, but even for that Riot has added a system to progress them much faster than the average player to their correct rank (I personally skipped multiple ranks on my way to Gold 1 recently, again showing the system working as intended). If you are a Gevlon-level player, you might need 1000+ games to move up a single rank. If you put in a bit more thought, don’t gimp your understanding to a single role/champ, and take the time to understand the game, you will move up much faster. The reason I played a lot of jungle when I was in Silver and low Gold was because I could carry the games playing the most powerful role, while as I get closer to my real ranking, I transition over to roles like mid and support to continue to climb at a much slower pace.

Let’s talk about Gevlon’s ‘exploit mode’, which worked so well for him he moved up a whole rank in Silver ! It’s practically magic! What’s really funny about this is that Gevlon, basically by accident, was playing better in those games, and surprise, he had a better win rate. It’s fairly common knowledge that boosting a single, winning lane is solid strategy in LoL, as is roaming often at lower skill levels (silver). At those levels players don’t ward often, don’t have good map awareness, and aren’t skilled enough to generally handle pressure, so moving around and upsetting the normal flow of a game works. It’s not something you can keep doing once you move out of the beginner ranks, but down that low it most certainly does.

Gevlon is a slow learner, but even someone who is slow will progress, especially if they no-life the game and rack up as many games as he did in such a short amount of time, and this slow growth is on display in those games with his higher win rate. Now granted, even in those games he makes basic mistakes (watching his replays on op-gg was rapidly becoming my favorite part of LoL), but at least he isn’t playing AS POORLY as he was when he was playing normally and was basically sitting in the jungle 95% of the time. This is why he didn’t progress, because even after all his time with the game, he was still below-average for his rank, and because he was taking the most important role in the game (Riot is tuning down jungle overall, as they have recognized jungle is too influential right now), his personal influence on a game was especially strong.

If we dig further into this, in games were Gevlon was one of the higher ranked players on his team, he lost most of those games. In other words, when he was expected to carry more of the weight, he lost. In games where others were expected to do more of the work, his winrate was better (though still not good enough overall to progress in rank). This again shows the system is working as intended, because a player SHOULDN’T move up in rank when they aren’t getting better, and overall Gevlon didn’t get noticeable better when he wasn’t playing in ‘exploit mode’ aka not Bronze-level Gevlon.

“How do people climb out from ELO Hell? One way is by being very good, this case they win fair games by a large enough margin to compensate for rigged defeats. Please note that this needs 70+% “fair” winrate, so you don’t just have to be better than people in your league, you must be much better. The other way is taking the advice of “pros” and learning lot of champions. Then you’ll win and believe you are winning because you learned lot of champions. The truth is that you are winning because you purchased lot of champions. Remember: you win when you are New champion user. After you learned the champion, you become Good and no longer have good winrate without exploit.”

The above is the punchline of the whole joke. In a post crying about yet another set of devs keeping poor Gevlon down, he writes that if you play well, you will advance. Imagine that! Stupid Riot rigging the system to only allow people who play well to advance, the bastards! I do like how he basically repeated my ‘how to climb post’ linked above as well. Wonder where he got that huh, though he didn’t get it enough to understand what real ELO hell is. Slow learner being slow on display yet again.

Beyond that idiocy, it’s also funny that Gevlon doesn’t see the connection between playing well and playing multiple champions, which again shows how slowly he learns things and how useless his analysis and advice really is. Of course playing/understanding more champs results in a better player overall, while someone who gimps themselves to only one champ is going to continue to struggle. That’s not rigging, that’s just common sense.

Compound this with the fact that owning a new champion isn’t linked with spending (most spending is on skins remember), and his ‘analysis’ goes even further down the drain. Ask yourself, if Gevlon actually believes buying a champ = free wins, why didn’t he ‘prove’ this by spending a few bucks on a champ? Is it because he is too poor in real life to afford it, or is it because had he done it, he would have staying in Silver, and would have to accept the reality of the situation; he is simply a very slow learner even at beginner-levels of play in a game like LoL?

I’m actually really sad Gevlon has rage-quit LoL. I knew it was coming, because even someone like Gevlon can only run face-first into a brick wall of failure for so long, but it was great content/comedy while it lasted. I’ll miss laughing at his game replay playing on my PC screen while playing CoC or CR, I’ll miss checking op.gg and seeing him rage-play a dozen games in a day and make zero progress, and most of all I’ll miss checking his blog and seeing him twist around trying to explain how someone could spend all day playing a competitive game with millions of players and not being able to climb above the average, casual gamer (anyone down in Silver is either a casual gamer, or a Gevlon, as even any semi-serious player is at least in gold, if not higher). It was a fun ride, but like all good things, it has now come to an end, and our tinfoil-hat wearing closet-social has moved on. Sad!

Posted in League of Legends | 7 Comments

XCOM 2 – Long War 2 mod review

When XCOM 2 originally came out I liked it, as it was more of XCOM, and the first game was great. I didn’t love it as much as the original (which I played through twice, once on ironman), but I think that was a combo of it being a little too similar, and just at the time not being on a huge TBS kick like I was when XCOM 1 came out. All of which is to say that XCOM 2 hasn’t really been on my radar for a while.

I also never played the Long War mod for XCOM 1, as it came out long after I was done with that game. On paper I like some of what the mod does (more stuff), but wasn’t a huge fan of its main feature: making the game long via more missions to reach the end-goal.

Recently the Long War mod has been released for XCOM 2, and it really is a total overhaul of the game. I won’t do a full list of the changes as you can get that from the mod page, but I will touch on a few of them that I’ve noticed so far and that have left an impression.

First and foremost, the game even on veteran difficulty is brutally hard. The resource management part is even more difficult in terms of deciding when to spend resources and on what, and resources seem even more scare so far. Upgrading the base is slow, there are more choices for research, and I don’t know if I’m ahead, behind, or on-pace in terms of the progression (I’m only about a month into it in-game).

Combat is also much harder, with more enemies per map, the AI being smarter, and since you have to run multiple squads at a time (more on why later), you don’t just run missions with the same 5 super-soldiers, which means how you distribute weapon upgrades and such is also more important. Even when you win, if too many soldiers are injured, that will cascade down to make future missions either much harder, or basically impossible.

Speaking of squads, the mod increases the total size, and you can now bring up to 12 (or 10, not sure and traveling right now so can’t check), which also has a huge impact on the feel of the game. Combine this with new classes, new weapons, new enemies, and new abilities, and again, Long War feels almost like a new game, just using the same basics and setting.

One final item I really like but that I’m having a hell of a time managing is the new infiltration system. The way this works is that when a mission comes up, rather than immediately selecting your troops and starting it, you first send your squad to infiltrate the area. The more time you spend doing this, the easier the mission will be (starting at basically impossible at 0% infiltration). Missions have time limits, so you can’t go to 200% just by waiting, and other factors (squad size, the weapons you bring, weapon mods like silencers) also influence the rate. Finally, you can spend intel to increase infiltration, so on an important mission where you didn’t have a lot of setup time, this might be a necessary ‘last resort’ option.

With larger max squad sizes and the infiltration system, this means you use more soldiers overall than the base game, and the mod greatly increases the total roster size as well as the number of rookies you start the game with. What this accomplishes is that missions feel different not only because of all the new stuff, but also because you are using a different mix of soldiers as well. That’s huge, and a really enjoyable challenge.

If you are in the mood for awesome TBS gameplay, and enjoy a challenge, grab XCOM 2 and the Long War mod. Just know you are signing up for a ROUGH ride, but one that feels especially rewarding when a solid plan gets executed to perfection (or the RNG gods play nice and that 17% hit chance is a crit that turns the tide for you).

Posted in Random, Review | 2 Comments

The 0-12 irredeemable moron

wise-words

Hello snowflake

0-12-moron

23% P/Kill, same damage as support Blitz, 2.5 cs/m. 600+ games as WW.

(Yes, screenshots were needed because it’s Gevlon, so his brilliant comment would very likely go poof once this was posted. Thin-skinned closet-socials are annoying like that.)

Look at this great advice from the badger-hauling, tackle-titan pilot who has just under 1000 games of LoL played in a few months yet is still in Silver 3 (might drop to S4 again by the time you read this), all because he wouldn’t listen when people told him queue-dodging won’t get you anywhere (credit to Gevlon though, he finally just figured it out on his own, and it didn’t even take him 1000+ games to do it!), that playing only one champ is holding him back, and that maybe he should focus less on tinfoil nonsense and perhaps a bit more on learning the basics of a game he has now devoted thousands of hours to. That personal goal of reaching Gold is looking like it will join Gevlon’s EVE projects in terms of success.

Just kidding. Keep being an ‘irredeemable moron’ and putting it on display for everyone to laugh at. That’s always been far more entertaining.

Posted in Blogroll, League of Legends, Uncategorized | 6 Comments

EVE: RP in EVE matters

In the most recent EVE post here, n0th brought up the subject of RP in EVE, and how its a major factor. I agree, and I also think the RP factor in EVE is somewhat unique not just in the MMO genre, but in all of gaming.

In most games, the ‘big bad’ is designed by the developers, and players have a chance to defeat it. This is obvious in single player RPGs, where usually the entire point is that final battle, but even in an MMO you have big bads like Illidan or Arthus, and basically everyone has a chance to beat them.

In EVE one of the major ‘big bads’ is The Mittani, and for 99.9% of all players, they have no chance to beat him. Most recently, the best the ‘good guys’ could do, all teaming up, was relocate the big bad of New Eden from the north to the south end of the map, and even that had a very debatable result (Delve now being the most economically active region in the game, Goons aren’t exactly hurting).

Prior to The Mittani, there was the Band of Brothers (BoB) alliance, a super power that seemed unstoppable. Before them there was MoO, and there are countless other names in EVE’s long history that are famous for their power and influence. It’s why someone can write a whole (fantastic) book about EVE in this way, while you could never do that for another MMO at nearly the same level.

Plus in EVE you can side with the ‘bad guys’, or start off as the good guys but somehow become what you once fought against (Rifter Goons fighting BoB vs today’s Titan-swarm Goons fighting TEST). You can remain truly neutral (Chribba), or a true third party (MC.). Mercenary work is a real thing in EVE, and it’s not just a bolted-on game system the devs thought would be cool.

The RP factor in EVE also extends to each war, with propaganda posts and images being made and put up on walls (Reddit, forums) to promote and rally each side. Perception matters, because you can’t win a war if your troops don’t show up, and people are far more likely to show up if they believe they are winning. It’s also why after many battles a debate rages over who really won. Was it the side that got the objective, or that won the ISK battle, or was it perhaps another factor?

We traditionally think of RP as background or the ‘table setting’ for what we do, but in EVE RP is a very powerful and important tool. When you don’t control the narrative, it can often control you.

Posted in EVE Online, Goons