(Long overdue) Off-Week Update (5-26-2013)
Ok, I have some serious catching up to do, as I haven’t done an official one of these in a while, mostly because of the complaints I was receiving for doing something I’ve been doing since this site’s inception. Let’s get the old, OLD stuff out of the way, quickly.
- Episode 39: SMITE
I love SMITE, even if I don’t get to play it all that often. I fully understand why someone wouldn’t like it, if they’re more used to something like DOTA 2 or League of Legends. HOWEVER, I do have words for the insipid behavior and attitudes of the MOBA crowd but that rant will be rekindled in time.
- Episode 40: Age of Conan
While I respect what Funcom was trying to do here, and though I did find the shield defense system interesting for a point-and-click system, I didn’t really have my interest held. I’m honestly quite glad I didn’t buy this game when it was new, or I would have been right back with Argent Exodus and looking shamefully upon the abandoned title on our hard drive, wondering exactly why we left WoW for it in the first place. I deleted this as soon as the video was over.
- Episode 41: Hawken
It’s a fun “play for a while” but I fully get why people don’t dig the aesthetic. It’s really, REALLY depressing. I’m glad that the MWO vs. Hawken crowd seems to have died off though, with both sides understanding that their games aren’t even remotely similar beyond the mech-combat angle.
- Sidequest: World of Warplanes
Did you hear about this game called War Thunder? I’m not sure of you heard of it considering it was pretty hard to miss with nearly every comment on all three platforms I posted this video on telling me about it. Again, this boils down to the ever baffling aspect of internet communities: Call someone out for comparing one title to another, IMMEDIATELY compare one title to another when no comparison was made. Sweet lord, make up your minds. I’ve played and messed with War Thunder a bit, and while I’ll admit it’s got a lot more going for it, the fervor is seriously putting me off on looking at it right now.
Ok, now on to the more involved discussion of more relative and spoken about titles…
- Episode 42: Age of Wushu
I was really, REALLY not expecting to like this game. At all. Loading it up and seeing the mass of players, text and gold-spammers, I groaned. Seeing the massive commercial campaign everywhere, I grumbled. Seeing a sudden onslaught of suggestions for the game on unrelated video when I seriously didn’t think anyone was going to enjoy it, a sighed in annoyance. Yet, never before has a game so fundamentally broken been so intriguing to me. It seriously does a lot of things differently. I should hate everything about this game.
Open PK world? Check.
Confusing, poorly explained mechanics? Check.
Simplistic point and click combat system? Check.
Cash shop consisting entirely of rentals? Check.
Yet, let’s double-check those system and understand why none of them seem to be bothering me in THIS game.
The Open PK world PUNISHES those who would just openly PK. You may argue that Lineage 2 does the same thing, labeling PKs as “chaotic” players, who get a red name tag and can be killed by any other player, and upon death, lose the items they were carrying and cannot shop in towns. I counter that argument with this: Look how easy it is for someone who ONLY wants to PK newbies to get around this system. Lose your items on death? Play naked or equip junk. Play only in areas away from towns, where newbies are still known to play. You don’t even need to play for that long to gain enough power to 1 or 2 shot a brand new player in the newbie town. Oh, did the newbie find the buff that makes them untargetable to players 10 levels higher? Make yourself 8 levels higher. Considering the usual amount of distance you have to walk upon death, and the fact you lose XP when killed, who’s getting the raw end of the deal here? Keep in mind, the aforementioned punishments are the ONLY things that happen to you as a PK in L2. Compare this to Age of Wushu. If you kill someone, you gain “infamy” when you start in on a rampant killing spree, your infamy goes higher. When it reaches a certain amount, guard will start to hunt you down. So will other players with the “constable” setting. If you’re taken down, you don’t just respawn as normal. You respawn IN JAIL. The amount of time you spend in jail is compounded by the amount of infamy you earned. This can be hours. Even days. And when I say “days” I don’t mean “Wushu days”, some sort of magical 15 minute day that’s over in no time. No. Real life earth days. “Oh,” so you might say, “Guess I’ll just log off for the duration and wait for the timer to count down until I’m released.” Here’s the thing… It’s not counting down when you’re offline. You have to be logged in…. into jail… in order to serve your sentence. While IN Jail there are things you can to to try to lessen that sentence, but you have to serve your time. It’s actual punishment for dickery, and the PKs seem to HATE it. And I love the hell out of it.
Overly confusing mechanics? Yeah. Unquestionably. Yet for some reason, it’s almost like a puzzle. Once you figure out how it works, you have an upper hand on those that don’t. You can share that info with your friends and guildmates. They, in turn, share something they discovered with you, and everyone becomes a better player. It’s a lot of fun just to go, “Oh, really? Wow, that makes things so much easier!” and figure out what other tricks and mechanics there are to solve.
Simplistic point and click combat? I’ve never really minded point and click, and honestly think Reticle Combat is beyond overrated with plenty of flaws that I will get into shortly when I talk about the next game. Still, Wushu gives you a very small handful of skills, and a simple rock-paper-scissors mechanic. But yet, something about how it works makes it more interesting. The PvP aspect is much more intense, knowing just when to use a skill against an opponent. Being able to switch skillsets on the fly makes things more diverse, and the option to learn many skills and sets from different schools means you never know what your opponents are capable of.
Cash Shop full of rentals? Yes, it’s a pet peeve, but the game is pretty stupidly generous with items, too. While inventory space is annoying limited in parts, getting a bag tossed your way, either by Snail Games, or another player, is a pretty common occurrence, to the point that space shouldn’t be too much of an issue. Costumes, and fairly SLICK looking ones, are given out just for advancing within the game and your school. Horses are also fairly easy to come buy, and you’ll have earned enough in game to get a good one before your first one is used up. VIP, is more than worth the purchase, and people who don’t use it aren’t completely shut out. One of the highest level members of our Guild never put a dime in VIP, and he’s caught up to me fairly quickly. It’s all on how you play. Speaking of the guild, seriously, if you have an interest, check out my previous post about the guild and the code giveaway! (I’m over the hump on codes to pass out, but there are still plenty.) Everyone in the guild is super helpful, and this is one of the few times I’ve created an in-game guild that’s really taken off. This game might not be for you, but if you want to give it a shot, we’ll make your trip worthwhile!
- Episode 43: Neverwinter
I want to like this game more than I do. It’s really REALLY easy to burn out on. I’m not saying this game is as bad as people are making it out to be, but when I go from the calm relaxed pace of Wushu to the fast paced, jerk-soaked community of Neverwinter, you can tell there’s a real difference in my “enjoyment” of the game. Check out how angry I get in my streams of NW versus Wushu and you can find that out pretty fast. Still, I am really REALLY wanting to learn the foundry, and if you have a quest you created, let me know and I’ll try to find it. (The “short code” is fool-proof. The name of the quest is a crapshoot.)
Shortly after I posted the video, a bug was found in game that allowed players to milk the Auction House for massive amounts of Astral Diamonds, swiftly rendering them worthless. The incident caused a mass panic among the players, a massive reason to scream about how horrible the game was to the haters, and Cryptic to do a fairly swift and painless rollback to undo the damage caused. Cryptic handled it in good humor as well, granting any character made before the rollback form bonus XP gaining items, and other goofy niceties under the guise of being a “Caturday Survivor” (A nickname given to the incident as the massive boost in AD granted players the ability to acquire the expensive “Cat” companion with ease.) As I see it, Cryptic is probably under a lot of pressure to get the game out under Perfect World, and a lot of us felt it was a bit too early. Not to mention they’ve always struck me as a company that was more “reactive” than “proactive.” Is this incident going to “kill” the game? No. It hasn’t yet, but it it pissed off enough of the jerks infesting the game right now, I take this as a blessing in disguise.
Oh yeah, reticle combat. There’s a major flaw in this whole thing I noticed while playing games like STO and TSW with the feature in tow, and that’s the oddball targetting. Sure, in THEORY you just point at what you want to kill with the reticle, and click, but this doesn’t always have the desired effect. I can’t count the number of times I’ve been fighting an enemy that was at a fraction of health, where ONE hit would have been enough to finish them, and sudden another enemy runs in between me and the target, and the game AUTOMATICALLY fires upon the closer enemy. Even if I don’t have my reticle pointed at them. Some might argue that they are “blocking the shot” which is all well and good in theory, except when said enemy is a small, but full health, monster, and my target is a powerful monster that’s been causing serious damage to the party. Even attempting to halt damage and re-focus on my initial target does little to help, as sometimes the game just seems to attack whatever it wants to. This happens CONSTANTLY, and it’s one of the more annoying issues with Neverwinter and the reticle targeting system in general. The Control Wizard’s Magic Missile spell is also a homing device, so there’s no logical reason I should start automatically targeting the closer monster. You don’t stop fighting off an attacking wolf because a beetle crawled across your shoe.
One thing I’m surprised NOBODY mentioned… the fact that I didn’t have a next episode clue in the latest video…
Well if you have noticed, I was taking a BIT of a break. At least from full eps. I have a Backtrack on Elsword underway, and two games planned for the upcoming cycle. Both by the same developer… Stay tuned.