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Showing posts from July, 2014

ArcheAge: First Impressions

By the time I reached level 15 in WildStar, I was thoroughly tired of the same old activities.  The combat was great, but what's the point?  I was just running from quest hub to quest hub.  When I purchased a mount, they had the audacity to have it decrease my movement speed: riding one nullifies the speed buffs available to Settlers or Explorers, which means players on foot move faster.  I suppose that it's little wonder I kept rerolling at that level, as a double whammy of those speed buffs becoming less available and mounts providing a poor replacement meant the pace of the entire game began to drag heavily.  Now, considering where I was trying to get was just to the next quest hub, the slow speed of travel is just insult to injury.

By the time I reached level 15 in ArcheAge, the quest line had already given me a free horse that substantially boosted my move speed - the developers weren't worried, their world was large enough that there was plenty of geography to travel…

The Quest To Live Digitally Vicariously

Like it or not, as the Earth groans under the weight of the most human beings ever, we are living in very interesting times.  Even if you don't live hand to mouth in a contested demilitarized zone, you still will have to deal with overwhelming wealth inequality or global warming.  More likely, the smaller things that are in your immediate life, like familial concerns or making ends meet.

The point is, escapism tempts us all.
Defined as "the avoidance of reality by absorption of the mind in entertainment or in an imaginative situation, activity, etc" I think it's fair to say that escapism can be found in computer games as well as books and movies.  These are some of the healthiest ways to escape the painful realities of life, deliberately directing the brain towards dwelling on better ideas, without any of the maladaptive long term damage of substance abuse.  (Except, perhaps, for all the time you spend indoors instead of out in the world advancing your agendas, i.e.…

Jumping Jumbled Juxtapositions

As I mentioned in the last entry, I'm currently attempting to play both Wildstar and FireFall.  In doing so, I have to say, I'm so confused right now.  These are two games that should play distinctly differently, thereby allowing a nice variety of play.  Instead, playing them both seems to invalidate each other.
This occurs on several major fronts:

Conflict 1. The flow of the central combat mechanic:

This basically entails the basic kinetic activity the player will be up to while playing these games.
Wildstar demonstrates that interesting gameplay can be had from an enhanced traditional MMORPG combat model that eschews the auto-attack mechanic in favor of telegraphing attacks that effect specific areas supplemented by a dodge mechanic that allows the player to move slightly faster to avoid enemy telegraphs in a limited allocation.FireFall demonstrates that interesting gameplay can be had from straight up lifting a first person shooter combat, complete with player versus environm…

Firefall, Risen From The Ashes

As my terrible Bizarro weekend lurches inevitably into the grind of another few days of work, I sit here having just invested some 13 hours reacquainting myself with Firefall and wanting to commit a few words to my blog so that I might at least say I did something passably productive.  You may be hard pressed to find a more common motivation to blog.
How does Firefall actually play?  If a picture speaks a thousand words, this GameSpot video should speak millions.
In that case, I suppose what I'm going to say is that it's been a rather bittersweet reunion.
The sweetness is in seeing Firefall's marvelous game engine realize something that is far closer to the open-world dynamic narrative PvE game I want to play than 99.9% of games that exist, while playing great (it's mostly Tribes at heart).  About the worst thing I can say about Firefall is that the NPC polygons look a little pasty and there's the rare crack in the world geometry.  Overall, there's not all that m…

Getting The Hell Off Of Nexus

I simply cannot get into WildStar anymore, I've screwed up by rolling up too many alternate characters to feel ensnared in any of them, so now I'm sick of the game.   It's not WildStar's fault, it's a bad habit of mine to keep rerolling in computer RPGs until I sicken of it.

Anyway, this resulted in my Bizzaro weekend going horribly wrong.  Instead of "productively" wasting my time to waste in an MMORPG, I've been hanging out on forums, bickering with people half my age on threads that will be garbage collected in a few weeks anyway.  Maybe I'm desperate for some mental stimulation.

But then I started to play RimWorld, early access version 0.5.492.  Holy crap, there went 14 hours of my weekend I'm not getting back; this game is a massive time sink.
RimWorld is the start of a great game, being developed rather slowly by a largely one-man crew in Unity.  I've spoken about it before, and the short version is that it's basically this:
It…

Onward To The Past!

You know, if I really wanted to make this blog more popular, I could start with something along the lines of daily updates, but I have higher priorities: the way I procrastinate is painstaking work.  But I feel somewhat obligated to talk about what I was up to nonetheless and, as it turns out, I tend to log how I spend my free time with all the rapt fascination of a scientist observing a quantum singularity.

Tuesday, the 8th of July, I crawled out of bed to watch WildStar Weekly on Twitch.  Watching the WildStar developers talking about their game on their live streams on Tuesday and Thursday (11am PST) has become a welcome habit, neatly sandwiching Zero Punctuation on Wednesday.
Then I actually tried to play WildStar.  This initially went rather poorly.

I tried the Esper for a couple hours, saved the village of Hycrest, and was rather disappointed to see a dumpy looking Chua literally idolized, on larger-than-virtual-life holographic projection, by the town.  That Chua was my Esper, …

Idling Whilst Complaining About Idle Behavior

The honeymoon is over between WildStar and me.  Yet, while the new MMORPG magic is gone, I don't regret purchasing it, and I am not quite ready to unsubscribe to it.   This game is actually pretty solid and fun to play in its own right.

Not a whole lot of progress has been made since my last major entry about WildStar, but at least I stopped stop rerolling my characters.  Well... almost.  I decided that I did not want my Cassain (the Dominion equivalent of a human) to be a Stalker and, since the Dominion is my primary faction of interest, it would not hurt to skew my class balance slightly in their direction.

So my current character list, ranked by priority of play, goes something like this:
Chua Esper - Of the two glass cannons, this one has more interesting tricks up its sleeves.Mechari Warrior - Of the three tanks, this one seems to have the most thoughtful gameplay.Cassian Spellslinger - The other glass cannon.  I have to admit that, despite being pretty much pewpewpew in exec…

Unfortunately Easy To Confuse With Guild Wars 2

Good Lord, and I thought I had played simulations of boredom before!  For example, Euro Truck Simulator is a series about simply driving trucks around European countryside, the Farming Simulator series is about utilizing farming equipment to seed and harvest land before delivering the goods, and The Sims series is basically playing house with artificial intelligence.  But over the past couple days, I put WildStar down a bit in order to pick up The Guild 2: Renaissance, and I have to say that my bar of boring game premises has been set to new heights!

I started as a craftsman, one of four classes, and for me this was a real time strategy game about barely scraping by.  I'm being fairly literal here, if the GUI is the game, then The Guild 2: Renaissance is mostly a real time strategy game.  However, instead of amassing giant fleets of hostile units that fight, you instead control three members of a family (a "dynasty") and their businesses and employees.  It's sort of r…